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Weekly Update Issue 45 - Thursday 31 March, 2022

Taranaki Programme Weekly Update

With case numbers still rising in Taranaki and winter fast approaching, it is important we all remain vigilant about what we can do to keep Omicron under control on behalf of the most vulnerable in our communities.

Despite the easing of My Vaccine Pass restrictions and an increase in capacity limits for both outdoor and indoor businesses and events from Monday, the need to act responsibly still rests with us as individuals.

Maintaining good personal hygiene, such as washing hands and sneezing or coughing into your elbow, wearing masks when appropriate and maintaining social distancing from those you don't know or do not regularly meet with during your everyday life are all ways of slowing transmission of Omicron down. Stay home if you feel sick, and take a RAT or PCR test if you have COVID-19 symptoms.

It is also vital that those who are due for a COVID-19 booster shot get it. The antibodies produced by our bodies in response to the primary dose of the COVID-19 vaccine reduce over time, which means the protection the vaccine gives us losses its effectiveness. A booster shot gives our bodies a wake-up call to replenish the antibodies so we are less likely to contract the virus when we come into contact with it, or get very sick if we do.

Both the vaccination clinics in New Plymouth and Hāwera ore open seven days and you are welcome to just walk-in. GP Clinics and community pharmacies are still administering the vaccines, along with our partner Māori health providers Tui Ora and Ngati Ruanui.

We are also continuing our rural outreach clinics - see below or visit TDHB - COVID-19 vaccine to find out where and when. This is also where information about any pop-up clinics is updated.

For details and opening hours of other vaccination clinics, visit COVID-19 Vaccination • Taranaki • Healthpoint

Drive-thru vax clinics a wheel success

It may have been cold and windy, but a festive atmosphere prevailed at the two drive-through vaccination clinics in Opunake and Stratford last weekend.

More than 60 people received their COVID-19 jabs, with  more than half of them being tamariki. 

The drive-through clinics were planned, resourced and delivered by Tui Ora, Pinnacle Midlands Health, Te Aranaga and the Taranaki DHB.

"(We all worked) together in true partnership to make the events happen," says Tui Ora Programme Manager Lisa Zame. "This team work happened at all levels from the planning and logistics, to the communications and the make-up of the workforce on the day representing all of the partners.

"This was an awesome effort and a big thank you to all of our kaimahi who supported our drive-thru's. They were really fun events for whānau and we can all be really proud of what we have achieved."

Images: Top: the Taranaki DHB COVID-19 vaccinators get into the festive vibe; Bottom left: Tyrese Epiha brings the vibe to the Ōpunake drive thru; Bottom right: Kaimahi Ruahine Haddon keeps a watchful eye in the observation area.

Legislative changes come into force on April 4

From Monday, the need for vaccine passes is no longer required - although businesses can keep using the system if they wish.

My Vaccine Pass was required while the vaccination roll-out was put into action, but with around 95% of the eligible population at least double dosed, it is no longer needed. 

However, people are advised to not delete their MVP from their phones or throw away any hard copies in case vaccine pass requirements are needed once more at some point in the future.

Monday will also see the lifting of vaccine mandates for everyone except health and care workers, prison staff and border workers, although businesses will still be able to have workforce vaccination requirements if they wish.

Health workers are more likely to be exposed to COVID-19, and are also liable to transmit the virus to highly vulnerable patients in their care. Aged care facilities and prisons are also places where vulnerable people may be exposed to large outbreaks. Border and MIQ workers are likely to be the first people in our community to be exposed to new variants of COVID-19 so it is important to minimise their risk of becoming infected and passing the infection on to others.

Now that Omicron is circulating widely in the community, the relative risk to children of contracting COVID-19 at school (compared to other locations) or from school workers (compared to the community) has reduced compared to when the vaccine mandate was originally introduced.

Vaccine mandates may be reinstated in future if required, for example, if a more severe variant emerges that needs more stringent public health measures to be put in place.

Where can I get vaccinated?

Check out the Taranaki DHB website for the latest updates on clinics and other important information.

Tui Ora, Ngati Ruanui and Ngaruahine regularly post information about clinics on their Facebook pages so are well worth checking out.

COVID-19 Vaccination • Taranaki • Healthpoint has information about community pharmacies and GP clinics - not all our partner-providers are offering paediatric vaccinations so it's best to check (and book) before you go.

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TDHB · David Street · New Plymouth, Taranaki 4310 · New Zealand

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