More Covid-19 vaccinators recruited
Retired and overseas-trained health professionals and the wider health workforce can now join New Zealand’s expanding vaccinator workforce, says Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins.
The Government has changed Medicines Regulations to allow more health workers to be trained to give vaccinations.
“We’re calling on retired nurses, people who have trained overseas but are not registered here, and those in the kaiāwhina workforce – who work in our health system already in roles such as healthcare assistants – to join our vaccinator team,” says Hipkins.
“More than 12,500 people with a wide range of backgrounds, including many ex health professionals, have already logged their details in the Hands-Up database, which is designed to capture a broad range of skills and backgrounds for different roles.
“We anticipate many of the former health professionals who have entered their details into Hands-Up will be keen to become involved in the vaccination programme.
“DHBs have been following up with potential candidates to bring people on board as we scale up the vaccination programme.”
Those urged to join in can enrol through the database at www.health.govt.nz/HandsUp Registrations, which can be completed in English, Te Reo Māori, Samoan and Tongan.
“The change will also allow us to boost the numbers of Māori and Pacific vaccinators. It also provides these new vaccinators with enhanced career opportunities in the health sector,” says Hipkins.
Gisborne iwi health provider first to complete vaccinator training
“I’d like to congratulate 12 kaiāwhina from Tūranga Health, an Iwi health provider in Gisborne, who have become the first to complete the face-to-face training to become COVID-19 vaccinators from this new workforce,” says Hipkins.
“This group of vaccinators are from a broad range of roles and backgrounds and are excited to learn new skills to support the Covid-19 vaccination rollout in protecting whānau in Tūranga-nui-a-Kiwa and surrounding areas. They are a welcome addition to Tūranga Health’s 14 vaccinators.
Henry Lamont, who has worked as a whānau ora kaiāwhina at Tūranga Health for the past two and a half years, said it was a “no-brainer” to take up the opportunity to train as a Covid-19 vaccinator.
“It means I can help to help protect whānau in my community. And me being a male Māori, it gives that option for whānau to choose when they get vaccinated.”
As coach for the local junior rep team in touch rugby and well-known in sporting circles, he hoped to leverage off his community links to encourage people to get vaccinated.
Dallas Poi, an experienced kaiāwhina and community manager for Tūranga Health, said she was excited to get the opportunity to contribute to the Covid-19 vaccine rollout in her community.
“My whakapapa is to Rongowhakaata and Ngāti Porou so I’ll be a familiar face as a vaccinator for whānau. The training raises the competency level of kaiāwhina and extends our scope of practice, which is also important in our role to promote health.
“We’re looking forward to giving actual injections to whānau and we’re really stoked to be the first to complete the face-to-face part of the training.”