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Tauranga teen marks 250,000th BOP Covid dose

Paea Uilou speaking with a vaccinator before receiving a dose of the Pfizer vaccine. Supplied photo.

A Tauranga Moana teen has received a milestone dose of the Covid-19 vaccination in Katikati on Tuesday, October 5 - the 250,000th dose administered in the Bay of Plenty.

Paea Uilou (Ngāi Te Rangi, Te Arawa, Ngāti Tonga) received her first of two vaccines at Te Rereatukāhia on Tuesday morning, thanks to Te Manu Toroa Mobile Vaccination Unit.

“I want to get vaccinated so that I can reconnect with my whānau here and overseas,” she says.

Her mother, Valarie Uiloa (Ngāi Te Rangi, Te Arawa) says she and her daughter also spoke at length about the extra layer of protection the vaccine provides before the 16-year-old rolled up her sleeve.

“If we all get vaccinated, it will bring some normality back to our lives. If we don’t, the disconnect with our whānau across the world and the country is going to continue,” Valarie Uiloa adds.

Te Manu Toroa’s mobile vaccinating service has been focused on delivering to high needs Māori communities in Bay of Plenty since it began delivering services in June.

It will have pop up sites and evening clinics around the Bay of Plenty in October 2021, to meet the needs of community and whānau returning to kura and mahi.

Te Manu Toroa Health Services Māngai Chris Jacob, who led the clinic at Te Rereatukāhia when the milestone was reached, says the focus is firmly on protecting our whakapapa and our people too.

The mobile vaccination unit is one of the many kaupapa Māori providers being supported by the Bay of Plenty District Health Board to offer the Covid-19 vaccination to its community in engaging ways – with an emphasis on opportunities, and options, in the coming weeks.

“Whether it’s in a mall, at a community event, or closer to home – together with our partners, we are aiming to be there with information, and in many cases, an opportunity to provide a vaccine. The vaccine continues to offer us the best protection against Covid-19,” Bay of Plenty DHB Covid-19 Incident Controller Trevor Richardson says.

More than 70 per cent of the Bay of Plenty’s residents have received at least one dose of the vaccine, according to the Ministry of Health data to September 29.

The Covid-19 vaccine is available to everyone in Aotearoa New Zealand aged 12 and older. People can visit BookMyVaccine.nz or call 0800 28 29 26 to book.

More information, including pop-up site locations, for Te Manu Toroa can be found at temanutoroa.org.nz

More information about the vaccine can be found at covid19.govt.nz/vaccine.

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