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Bay of Plenty Covid-19 vaccine rollout takes off

Dr Claire Isham, left, GP Liaison Lead for the Bay of Plenty DHB’s COVID-19 vaccine team; and vaccinator Margaret Tunbridge-Ross, RN.

Covid-19 vaccines have gone airborne to reach residents of Mōtītī Island, a secluded island 9km off the coast of Tauranga.

The Bay of Plenty District Health Board collaborated with vaccination providers and  the residents of Mōtītī Island to deliver a “fly-in, drive-through” Covid-19 vaccination clinic on the island on Monday.

“The protection the Covid-19 vaccine offers us is incredibly important. Our team are working creatively to ensure we offer it to all of the diverse populations of Te Moana ā Toi,” says Bay of Plenty DHB Covid-19 Incident Controller Trevor Richardson.

The DHB says it administered 13 doses of the Covid-19 vaccine on the island at this clinic.

Many of the 13 doses were the first dose of the vaccine the Mōtītī residents had received. Two doses of the Pfizer vaccine are required in order to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19.

“It’s important we offer the vaccine to everyone in the Bay of Plenty, most especially our vulnerable, hard-to-reach communities with high Māori populations,” says Richardson.

The island closed itself to visitors when New Zealand entered Covid-19 Alert Level 4 on August 17, 2021.

The vaccine clinic was cause for the first passenger flight to touch down on the island in two weeks.

“Our team is firmly focussed on an equitable delivery of the Covid-19 vaccine rollout in the district. Collaboration with our community is critical to the success of the vaccine rollout,” adds Richardson.

Another visit to Mōtītī Island to administer second doses of the vaccine is planned for next month.

“We know that Mōtītī residents want to feel safe when returning to the mainland, so we’ll continue to make getting the vaccine as easy and accessible as possible.”

More than 170,000 Covid-19 vaccinations have been administered in the Bay of Plenty district, as of September 5, 2021.

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