Eastern Bay frontline healthcare workforce set to get COVID vaccine starting next week

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Whakatāne Hospital Coordinator Dave van Dijk, COVID Vaccination Site Lead Susan Jensen, COVID Vaccination Clinical Lead Dr Rachel Shouler and Public Health Nurse Vaccinators Sherry Hutchinson and Manmeet Kaur.

Eastern Bay frontline hospital and community healthcare workers will start getting the COVID 19 vaccination from Tuesday 30 March.

Following Border and managed isolation and quarantine (MIQ) workers, frontline healthcare workers are the next group the Ministry of Health has identified should be vaccinated.  This is part of the nationwide COVID Vaccine Rollout Plan providing a free vaccine to everyone aged 16 or over.

Eastern Bay Primary Health Alliance (EBPHA) Clinical lead Dr Rachel Shouler who is leading the vaccine roll out to frontline healthcare workers in the Eastern Bay says,

“The staged roll out is aimed at protecting the people at greater risk. Frontline healthcare workers are the most likely to come into contact with COVID cases, and potentially spread COVID-19  to vulnerable people.”

The Tarawera Medical Centre GP and Bay of Plenty District Health Board GP Liaison says, “A vaccination site for both hospital and community frontline healthcare workers has been set up at Whakatāne Hospital.”

She says planning is also underway for the next groups of people identified at greater risk. This includes those who work or live in long-term residential care environments as well as  older Māori or Pacific people being cared for by whānau.

“We‘re working with multiple partners across our community including iwi and Māori health providers. We’re looking at a range of options to make it as easy as possible for people to get vaccinated. This is likely to include pop-up sites, community based clinics, mobile services and large scale venues.

“There is good evidence showing the vaccine is effective at preventing infection; for preventing severe disease if the vaccinated person does still get the disease; and emerging evidence for preventing transmission of the virus.”

Dr Shouler says she’s started talking to her patients about the vaccine. “I’m encouraging them to have the vaccine and I’ve directed them to the Unite Against COVID-19 website for information.”

“Talk to your doctor about the vaccine, they know your medical history and can give you the best advice about the vaccine.”