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Supporting vaccine programme and ethnic communities

GPs and pharmacies supporting vaccine programme and ethnic communities

More than 250 members of Auckland’s Indian community had their Covid-19 vaccinations done at the Gurudwara Sikh Temple in Takanini on Saturday night.

The night clinic was organised by Unichem Pakuranga Pharmacy co-owner Vicky Chan and supported by the Supreme Sikh Society of New Zealand.

The event was the second to be held at the temple and has drawn praise from T11, the body set up by the Northern Region Health Coordination Centre (NRHCC), to oversee the involvement of primary care organisations in the vaccination rollout.

NRHCC’s T11 group chair Dr Rawiri Mckree Jansen says “it’s pleasing to see GPs and pharmacies being so proactive and supporting their communities to be protected from COVID-19.”

“We need to ensure that everyone feels they have choices as to where they can get their vaccinations, and for many their local GP or pharmacy will be a place where they feel most comfortable” he said.

There are now 30 Auckland pharmacies participating in the vaccine rollout programme and 101 General Practitioners (GPs).

“Our primary care providers add to an ever-growing network of vaccination options for Aucklanders, including 13 community vaccination centres, three drive-through sites and multiple Maori and Pacific-led vaccination hub, as well as an increasing outreach programme.

“Our aim is to make the vaccine as accessible as possible to everyone in our community,” Dr Mckree Jansen said.

Chan said holding vaccination clinics at places like the Sikh Temple allowed people who don’t have English as a first language to access the vaccine in a place they can have information translated – and feel at ease.

A sentiment Dr McKree Jansen also shared.

“Many people in these communities do not necessarily speak fluent English or may be recent migrants and have never accessed medical care in New Zealand, so taking the vaccine to them seemed like a much better approach,” he said.

Supreme Sikh Society of New Zealand spokesperson Daljit Singh said Saturday’s event offered the opportunity for people to have their vaccination in a familiar, safe and friendly environment.

“Those who may have hesitated to get vaccinated elsewhere knew they would be comfortable here,” Singh said.

Singh said it wasn’t only members of the Sikh community who turned up for vaccinations – with Hindi and Muslim people also in attendance.

The Northland and Auckland DHBs are operating a regional response to the COVID-19 pandemic through the Northern Region Health Coordination Centre (NRHCC).

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