by Helen Holt
Just under 9000 people of the eligible population in South Canterbury remain unvaccinated against Covid-19.
Numbers vaccinated in the South Canterbury District Health Board area received a boost on Super Saturday, with 1398 doses administered, and chief executive Jason Power deemed the day a success.
Across eight clinics around the region, 507 first doses were administered and 891 second doses.
Hundreds of cars lined up at Aorangi Park on Saturday for occupants to receive their jab, and they received a free sausage or doughnut for their efforts.
Nurses on site were celebrating more than 300 vaccines administered by 4pm, with four hours still to go on the big vaccination effort.
The Mackenzie district remains in the bottom five areas in the country, although it rose from 63rd to 62nd place of 66 over the past week. Figures on Tuesday showed 52.15% of the eligible population were fully vaccinated, 79.97% had at least one dose, and 20.03% were unvaccinated.
Mayor Graham Smith said a small number of clinics and large driving distances contributed to the district’s low vaccine rate.
Mobile clinics are being used to target South Canterbury’s hard-to-reach communities, and last week, four DHB staff travelled to Blue Mountain Station in the Mackenzie high country to vaccinate shearers, administering 18 doses doses and three second doses.
South Canterbury Covid-19 vaccination rural lead Jane-Anne McIlraith said it was fun to deliver the vaccinations in a real Kiwi environment where the “can do attitude” prevailed.
Mobile drop-in clinics were held at Lake Tekapo last Thursday and Aoraki-Mt Cook Village on Tuesday, in the effort to improve vaccination rates.
In the week ending October 17 a total of 5890 vaccine doses were administered across South Canterbury.
Of these, 1319 were first doses and 4571 were second doses.
A total of 64.5% of the eligible population is now fully vaccinated and 83% have received at least one dose.
There are still 8924 remaining people yet to receive any doses.
Since vaccinations began, 77,448 Covid-19 vaccine doses have been administered in South Canterbury. Of these 43,576 were first doses and 33,872 were second doses.
SCDHB chief executive Jason Power encouraged those who were hesitant to go out and get vaccinated, to help reach the country’s 90% fully vaccinated target.
He said the Ministry of Health was now advising a shorter gap between the two doses.
“In response to the ongoing Delta outbreak the Ministry of Health is advising New Zealanders to consider a shorter gap between doses of the Pfizer vaccine.
“Reducing the gap between doses to three weeks or over means more people can be fully vaccinated sooner, increasing our community immunity.”