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Southern District Health Board Celebrates 90% First Doses Rate

We’ve been targeting having 90% of the Southern population vaccinated by Christmas, and today the Southern district achieved a significant milestone towards this goal.

90% of Southern’s eligible population has now received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, meaning most of the community now has some protection against the COVID-19 virus.

The achievement is thanks to the huge community efforts across Otago and Southland – including WellSouth and primary health care providers, local councils, businesses and more – says Southern DHB COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout Incident Controller, Hamish Brown.

“With COVID-19 cases now in the South Island, and the move towards a traffic light system of managing the virus, it is imperative our community is as protected as possible from the virus.”

However, the task is not yet complete, he says.

“We still have significant differences inbetween Māori and non Māori, younger and older populations, and those living in rural and urban areas. We are not protected unless we are all protected, and we do not want any group being left behind,” he said.

“We also have a responsibility to provide protection for our children who are too young to be vaccinated, as well as those with compromised immunity.”

It was essential everyone made sure they have two doses to gain the maximum protection from the vaccine, he said.

Brown acknowledged the efforts of Māori and Pacific providers in reaching their communities, as well as the efforts of local mayors in helping lift vaccination rates in rural areas, with Southland mayor Gary Tong and Gore mayor Gary Tong currently on the road with their Farmgate tour.

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“With recent increased activity across the district, we have now crossed the line of achieving 90% of first doses. To have accomplished this so far away from Christmas, means we are well-positioned to achieve an over 90% fully vaccinated rate by the holiday season - this is great work. We are excited to have ramped up our vaccinations in both Clutha and Southland, bringing these areas closer to the 90% target. We will all continue to do the mahi to protect what we love.” Otago and Southlands current rate of the eligible population having both doses is 77.9%.

Accessibility has long been a feature of Southern’s rollout strategy, and remains a priority, Brown says.

The programme in the Southern district operates on a widely distributed model with over 110 providers including general practices, pharmacies and Māori and Pacific health providers, to ensure that no one is more than an hour from a vaccination location. Mass vaccination centres in Dunedin and Invercargill, and many vaccinating pharmacies across the district, offer walk-in COVID-19 vaccinations, and pop-ups clinics have been held in locations around the district, to ensure that those who were still in need of their first dose could receive it, as we head into summer.

You can also book via bookmyvaccine.nz or over the phone by calling 0800 28 29 26. Information about all vaccination locations can be found at https://www.southernhealth.nz/COVID19/clinics

The Southern District Health Board acknowledged the achievement at its meeting today, while acknowledging there is significant work to be done, to ensure all parts of the community are equally protected from the virus.

The board resolved that: Southern DHB, thankful to all those involved in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout programme, acknowledges achieving the milestone of 90% of the population receiving at least one dose; AND, with a commitment to the equitable protection of our people, is determined to meet a result of at least 90% double vaccinated for all ethnic groups (Māori, Pasifika, Asian, European and other), all age groups, and all urban and rural communities.

The vaccine is free and available to everyone in New Zealand over the age of 12, regardless of immigration status, and there is enough vaccine for everyone to get their vaccine by the end of the year.

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