Waikato District Health Board has taken its biggest step forward in its COVID-19 vaccination programme, with the blessing of its largest vaccination centre.
At full capacity, the Te Awa site at The Base in Hamilton, will be able to vaccinate up to 1000 people a day, seven days a week. The centre will be by appointment only, with the first vaccinations to begin on 20 July.
A whakamanawatanga was held at the site this morning, attended by Kiingi Tuuheitia, dignitaries from Waikato-Tainui iwi, local MPs, Deputy Mayor Geoff Taylor and DHB vaccination staff.
The site is run in partnership with Waikato-Tainui, Tainui Group Holdings and Kiwi Property and will serve as an integral part of the region’s vaccination efforts.
To date, more than 95,000 vaccinations have been administered to the people of Waikato.
Waikato DHB chief executive Kevin Snee says the collaboration with Waikato-Tainui is an example of the shared purpose of the DHB, iwi, Māori and Pacific health providers, PHOs, pharmacies and general practice to protect our community from COVID-19.
He says partnering with many organisations across the DHB’s takiwā has meant the vaccination programme has been tailored to the unique needs of the region’s communities, keeping them at the heart of the process.
“When COVID-19 first touched our shores last year, we were given a tongikura from Kiingi Tuuheitia that to protect the wellbeing of our people is paramount. This has been woven throughout our entire COVID-19 response and drives our vaccination programme,” Dr Snee says.
“This Te Awa vaccination site represents another milestone for us as we begin to scale up our programme for Group 3 and then move to vaccinating Group 4.”
While the Te Awa site is the largest vaccination centre in Waikato, it is one of many sites being set up across the Waikato DHB area in partnership with kaupapa Māori and Pacific health providers, PHOs, GPs, and pharmacies.
Dr Snee says he is grateful for the DHB’s partners who signed up to become part of the vaccination programme and for the important role they play.
“I want to thank our healthcare partners and their staff for their efforts so far and for setting out on this journey with us.
“We still have a way to go to ensure our entire population is able to be vaccinated, but through our collaboration and common purpose we are now well positioned to meet the challenge ahead.”
Within Waikato there are now community vaccination centres in Hamilton, Thames, Te Kuiti and Taumarunui. Additional community vaccination centres will be established in Morrinsville, Matamata, Te Awamutu, Cambridge and Tokoroa and will be operational from early August.
When the vaccination programme in Waikato is at full capacity we expect to deliver between 20,000 to 30,000 vaccinations per week.
Those in Group 3, which includes people aged 65 and over, those with underlying health conditions, people with disabilities, and pregnant women, are now receiving their invitations to book their vaccination appointments via the national Book My Vaccine system.