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Waiheke Island Takes Centre Stage As Auckland’s First GP Clinic Starts COVID-19 Vaccinations

The Waiheke Island Medical Centre has today become the first General Practice (GP) clinic in Auckland to begin vaccinating its patients against COVID-19.

The clinic in Oneroa delivered its first vaccinations this morning and will continue to rollout its immunisation programme over the coming months aiming to vaccinate all of the island’s inhabitants who haven’t already received their vaccinations on the mainland. At capacity they expect to vaccinate up to 90 each day.

The Island’s GP clinic is the first of many across Auckland starting their vaccination programmes from this week. On Thursday three more GP clinics start vaccinating: Ormiston Medical Centre, Hyland Park Medical and East Care Accident and Medical Centre. Next week a further 10 will be added, with many more planned to come on board over the next two months.

The start of the GP vaccination programme is a significant milestone for the Northern Region Health Coordination Centre which yesterday saw the 150,000 mark for total vaccinations delivered in the region.

“Working with our General Practitioners has been a critical part of our planning to ensure we can reach deeper into our communities and ensure they are protected from COVID-19,” said NRHCC Vaccination Programme Director, Matt Hannant.

“Our Vaccination Centres have done an amazing job to vaccinate over 150,000 people so far and I applaud the work they’re doing to keep our communities safe. Having the region’s GPs supporting vaccinations is going to really make a difference and we’re incredibly grateful to those who’ve put their hands up to help.”

A total of 17 General Practices across Auckland have so far come on board to deliver the COVID-19 vaccine to their patients. All had to put forward an expression of interest which outlined their ability to store the vaccine and administer and transport it safely on site. Another 30 are expected to be approved over the next month.

Jayme Kitiona, Practice Manager at Waiheke Medical Centre said: "It is an honour to be the first primary health care clinic to be delivering the COVID-19 vaccination programme. We have some really vulnerable communities here on the island so we’re delighted to be able to make the COVID-19 vaccine more accessible to people in their own community and to be part of the fight to protect them from this pandemic.”

The initial tranche of GP practices is based in communities highlighted by the government as higher priority. They will start with vaccinating older Maori and Pacific people and their household contacts or those over 65 living in South Auckland.

The start of the GP roll out is part of a busy week for the NRHCC and its community health partners. On Monday its fourth largest (capacity 1,000 per day) community vaccination centre opened in Birkenhead and on Wednesday a second Pacific-led vaccination centre will open in Westgate, supported and run by The Fono Health Services.

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