News

Ōpōtiki driving COVID-19 vaccine rollout success

24 August 2021

COVID-19 Alert Level 4 is no hindrance for Ōpōtiki locals to get their COVID-19 vaccinations. The Whakatōhea Health Centre has been offering the vaccine, on behalf of Bay of Plenty District Health Board (BOPDHB), at a drive-through service in the town since Friday last week.

Ōpōtiki driving COVID-19 vaccine rollout success
Whakatōhea Health Centre staff have been offering COVID-19 vaccinations at a drive-through service.

COVID-19 Alert Level 4 is no hindrance for Ōpōtiki locals to get their COVID-19 vaccinations. The Whakatōhea Health Centre has been offering the vaccine, on behalf of Bay of Plenty District Health Board (BOPDHB), at a drive-through service in the town since Friday last week.

The Ōpōtiki township-based general practice changed its vaccination operations and began offering the vaccine via the drive-through service as a new way of working under Alert Level 4 restrictions.

"Our drive-through COVID-19 vaccination service is going amazingly well," says Practice Manager Teina Hudson.

"We administered 108 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine on Friday. We've booked 204 vaccination appointments for Tuesday, and moving forward we will adjust clinic by clinic dependent on alert levels," says Hudson.

"We're so proud of our team, wider iwi support team, and the Ōpōtiki general practices to have turned this around. It's important we continue to offer the protection of the vaccine during this time."

The Whakatōhea Health Centre has been administering the COVID-19 vaccine every Tuesday and Friday since 27 July 2021, as part of the rollout programme.

"The Whakatōhea Health Centre was the first primary care provider in the Eastern Bay of Plenty that came onboard to administer the vaccine," says Bay of Plenty District Health Board COVID-19 Incident Controller Trevor Richardson.

"Primary care providers such as GPs and pharmacies are a key part of our vaccine rollout and will be instrumental in a successful delivery."

"It's fantastic to see Ōpōtiki residents offered the full protection of the vaccine, even under the tight restriction of Alert Level 4. The recent community cases have reminded us how incredibly important our immunity against COVID-19 is."

"Reaching rural communities, like Ōpōtiki, with higher Māori populations is a key focus for our team as these communities could be more at risk in a widespread outbreak," adds Richardson.

People can book their COVID-19 vaccine through the Whakatōhea Health Centre by calling any of the three Ōpōtiki general practices: Whakatōhea Health Centre, Toi Ora, and Church Street Surgery.

"The vaccine delivery in Ōpōtiki is an example of community working together. It is a collaboration between the three GP clinics – Whakatōhea Health Centre, Church Street Surgery, and Toi Ora Health – and Whakatōhea iwi," says Teina Hudson.

The Ōpōtiki general practices are contacting their enrolled patients to ask if they would like to be put on the COVID-19 vaccination waiting list. The Ōpōtiki booking team then contacts those on the waiting list directly to book their appointment.

Te Puna Ora o Mataatua also administers the COVID-19 vaccine in Ōpōtiki on Saturdays. People can book by calling 0800 628 228.

A community vaccination centre is run by the Bay of Plenty DHB at the Ōpōtiki Community Health Centre on Wednesdays and Thursdays. People can book by calling 0800 829 001.

More than 130,000 COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in the Bay of Plenty to 22 August 2021.