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COVID-19 Vaccinations For Group 3 Under Way In MidCentral District

MidCentral District Health Board has started COVID-19 vaccinations for people in the Group 3 cohort, including people aged over 65 and those with underlying health conditions.

People and whanāu within the MidCentral DHB rohe started to be invited to book a COVID-19 vaccination from May 31.

Group 3 includes everyone aged 65 and over, people with disabilities, people with underlying health conditions and adults in custodial settings.

MidCentral DHB Chief Medical Officer Kelvin Billinghurst said there were more than 50,000 people in the MidCentral rohe who fit into Group 3, so not everyone will receive an invitation immediately.

“People will be notified in different ways, including via email, phone, text and letter, across the next two months, and it’s important you wait to receive your invitation to book. There is enough vaccine for everyone and nobody will miss out.”

Dr Billinghurst said those in Group 3 were being given access earlier than the general population because they were more likely to get severely ill if they caught COVID-19.

“We know that age and certain underlying health conditions and disabilities mean it is more likely these people will get very sick if they catch COVID-19.

“When you get vaccinated, you’re not just protecting yourself, you’re protecting your whakapapa.”

Health providers and the DHB will invite people to book their vaccinations. More information about this process can be found by visiting covid19.mdhb.health.nz.

Dr Billinghurst said there was still a focus on priority populations in Group 2.

“While we are now opening to Group 3, there are still people in Group 2 who need to book their vaccination appointments, especially Māori kaumatua.

“We are committed to making sure people and whānau in our rohe have easy access to the vaccine.”

The plan involves having vaccines delivered at fixed sites throughout the MidCentral region, as well as at participating general practices and community pharmacies, and mobile pop-up clinics.

“Vaccines are free and everyone aged 16 and over will have the opportunity to get vaccinated. No one will miss out.”

We are also partnering with iwi and Māori providers to offer the vaccine to kaumātua and their households who fall under Group 2. You can phone 0800 MDHB VAX (0800 6342 829) today to book your Group 2 vaccination appointment at one of the following locations in Palmerston North:

· Best Care (Whakapai Hauora) Charitable Trust, 140-148 Maxwells Line, Awapuni

· Te Wakahuia o Manawatū Trust, 56 Pembroke St, Highbury

· Palmerston North Central, 38 Fitzherbert Ave (behind Toyworld)

Vaccine sites are not currently open for walks in, and appointments will need to be booked.

A site at the Horowhenua Health Centre in Levin is open from Monday to Wednesday and pop up clinics will visit other locations throughout the region.

Relevant underlying health conditions for Group 3 include:

· Those who have a health condition that means they are eligible for a free flu vaccine.

· Those who have been diagnosed with severe mental illness (which includes schizophrenia, major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder or schizoaffective disorder), and adults currently accessing secondary and tertiary mental health and addiction services.

· Those who have poorly controlled or severe hypertension/high blood pressure (generally defined as requiring two or more medications for control or, not currently under adequate control).

· Those who are severely overweight (defined as a BMI 40).

Vaccination for Group 4, which includes the remainder of the population, will commence from August.

More information is available on MidCentral DHB’s Covid-19 site, the Unite Against COVID-19 site or the Ministry of Health site.

If you want to know when you should be tested, please use the online tool available here.

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