by Helen Holt
Just 1843 more people in South Canterbury needed to get their first Covid-19 vaccine shots as of Tuesday for 90% of the region’s eligible people to have had a dose.
The Government has set a 90% double-dose target for district health boards.
In South Canterbury, 86% of the eligible population had had their first dose and 74% their second as of Tuesday.
Last Saturday, a clinic at the Mitre 10 car park administered 195 vaccinations in trade for a free barbecue sausage. Of those, 112 were first doses.
South Canterbury District Health Board senior responsible officer Ruth Kibble said the clinic was a great success.
In the week ending October 31, 3214 vaccine doses were administered across the region.
Of those, 1132 were first doses and 2082 were second doses.
Mrs Kibble said health officials wanted to prioritise people aged 20-29 and young Maori in order to get as many vaccinated as possible.
“We’re working with Maori leaders to work out how we can reach those last few people.”
Communications manager Karen Berry advised people to get in touch if they needed help accessing the clinics.
“They may contact us for a variety of reasons.
“Some have disabilities, in which case we often travel out to them. There are others with a needle phobia who need some support.”
Mackenzie’s rollout has jumped up the ladder from the bottom six out of 66 areas in the country to 41st in three weeks.
Just 82 more people needed to get jabbed for Mackenzie to reach 90% first doses, as at Sunday.
Mackenzie’s vaccination rate was ranked 63rd in the country on October 12, with 42% of the eligible population fully vaccinated. As at Tuesday, it was 41st, 69% fully vaccinated.
Mrs Kibble said the rise in vaccinations was the result of a community effort.
“This rollout hasn’t just been about the DHB,” she said.
“We’ve worked with primary care practices in Fairlie and Twizel, and community partners, such as St John, Mackenzie District Council, primary industries and Department of Conservation.
“We’ve targeted high country stations, who have brought in their neighbours as well. We’ve had vaccine clinics at farm equipment sales.”
It had been a real success story, she said.
“The majority of our clinics now are walk-ins which seems to suit people a lot better than ones where you have to book. ”
The district had taken more ownership of the rollout.
“We’ve seen a lot more people go out and get it .. since the case was announced in Christchurch. There’s been a big change in the attitude towards the virus.
“They realise if they want visitors to come to the region over the summer, they need to be protected.”
The DHB will have multiple clinics for Rural Focus weekend, to help target the rural community in Mackenzie and Waimate districts.