Covid-19 vaccinations underway in Rotorua
Some 30 people who work across Rotorua’s three managed isolation facilities – MIFs - were scheduled to be vaccinated today as the COVID-19 immunisation programme got underway in the Lakes District Health Board region in the central North Island.
The first vaccinations in Lakes are for health, hotel, police, welfare navigators and administrative staff working across the three MIFs.
Approximately 500 staff working across the three MIFs will get their first dose of the vaccine over the next few weeks.
Victoria Smith is the Infection Prevention and Control Coordinator for the three managed isolation facilities in Rotorua. She has been involved in infection prevention and control in a range of settings since 1992. Much of her role is in an advisory capacity and she enjoys this opportunity to apply the principles of infection prevention and control to this unique setting.
“Vaccination is an important part of infection prevention and this extra layer of protection is important to us as border workers undertaking this key role within our community,” says Victoria.
Putiputi Martin, Ngati Pikiao, Te Arawa, housekeeping manager at the Sudima was pleased to be on the list for her vaccination this morning. Puti has worked in housekeeping in a number of Rotorua hotels for the past 30 years.
Puti says the vaccine will help protect her from the effects of COVID-19 and she hopes to encourage her housekeeping staff to have the vaccine. The work of the housekeeping staff includes regularly sanitising surfaces to ensure they remain clean and safe.
Victoria Smith receiving the Covid-19 vaccination in Rotorua. Photo: Lakes DHB
COVID-19 vaccinations are being made available to border and MIQ workers as a means of added protection against the risk they encounter as part of their workplace duties. Vaccination is strongly encouraged to protect them and the people they live with.
“Our workforce in the managed isolation facilities, such as cleaners, the nurses who undertake health checks, welfare navigators, security staff, hotel workers Police and New Zealand Defence Force staff, have been working tirelessly to keep all New Zealanders safe and are rightly the first to receive the vaccine,” says Victoria.
“The close household and personal contacts they live with will be vaccinated as part of the initial roll-out, after border and MIQ workers have had their first dose. This includes anyone who usually lives with a border or MIQ worker. The next group will be frontline healthcare and essential workers, plus those most at risk from COVID-19, such as older people or those with medical conditions.”
Alan Wilson, Chief Operating Officer at Lakes District Health Board - DHB, says the lead up to today has been extremely busy and he’s grateful for the efforts of everyone involved.
“Our DHB is proud of our vaccination programme team and we are really keen to complete this first part of the programme. The team is wanting to get through this first group as quickly as we can, so we can move on to vaccinate the other groups of people,” says Alan.
Alan Wilson says the DHB is still seeking additional staff as Lakes will be significantly increasing the numbers of people being vaccinated.
“When the local programme, which is directed by the Ministry of Health, advises how much vaccine is available for Lakes DHB we will need a lot more nursing and administrative staff for Rotorua, Taupo and community outreach. This will enable the DHB to roll out the programme as quickly as possible,” said Alan.