Taranaki Programme Weekly Update
This will be last edition of the Taranaki COVID-19 Vaccination weekly update as we move into a more general immunisation programme that includes COVID-19, flu, MMR and childhood immunisations.
The programme has achieved a great deal in the past year, not only in the staggering number of vaccinations the team has delivered, but also in setting up the infrastructure and framework to be able to deliver this essential public health service roll-out.
The region now has two main vaccination centres staffed by a dedicated and experienced team, a rolling schedule of outreach clinics ensuring that those living in rural areas have equitable access to the vaccine, collaborative partnerships with our Māori health providers, GP clinics and community pharmacies and the ability to respond quickly to any vaccination related surge in demand.
Together with our partners, we have run clinics out of community halls, motorhomes, supermarkets, iwi buildings, carparks and clubrooms. Our infamous bacon butty clinic made national news, and our ice cream runs were very well-received. Our first community mass vaccination clinic was held in Stratford and then there was the long weekend we administered more than 10,000 vaccinations. And don't forget the Waitara aunties who not only rallied their whānau and community but appeared on Breakfast TV! Check out some of the images form the last year below.
It hasn't been a smooth or easy ride, especially in the early days where the programme faced criticism, vaccine shortages, resource challenges and was under a great deal of pressure.
But the resilience and dedication of the programme team from top to bottom shone through at every point in the journey, and everyone involved should be acknowledged for the part they played in helping to protect our region from COVID-19.
The vaccination programme has made a huge difference in protecting our hospital care system, helping to keep our most vulnerable community members safe, maintaining the Taranaki way of life throughout this pandemic as much as possible and, undoubtedly, saving lives.
The journey is not over yet - COVID-19 is here to stay for the foreseeable future and so now we face the ongoing challenge of learning to live normal lives alongside it while keeping people as safe as we can from serious illness.
So weekly immunisation updates will continue, letting you know all the information about the COVID-19 vaccination programme, the 2022 influenza campaign, the drive to protect our community against a potentially serious and life-threatening measles outbreak, and the need to improve childhood immunisation rates.