Covid-19 vaccinations on offer to islanders

Rakiura/Stewart Island residents will have the chance to be vaccinated against Covid-19 from July 28.

A COVID-19 vaccination clinic has been confirmed for Stewart Island in the last week of July.

The clinic will run on July 28 and 29 and will be followed by a second dose clinic in mid-August.

It will operate as part of the Southern district’s Maori and Pasifika vaccination programme.

Two Invercargill-based Maori health providers, Nga Kete Matauranga Pounamu and Awarua Whanau Services, will join forces to deliver the vaccine to everyone on the island aged 16 years or over.

Southern District Health Board (SDHB) Covid-19 vaccine rollout incident controller Hamish Brown said it was great to be able to provide the community on Stewart Island with access to the vaccine through a flexible and efficient delivery model, meaning it could vaccinate Groups 3 and 4 at the same time.

The timing of the clinic coincides with a national move to open bookings for Group 4 at the end of July.

Southern Health partnered with Arai Te Uru Whare Hauora, Awarua Whanau Services, Nga Kete Matauranga Pounamu Charitable Trust and Otakou Health Limited, to deliver a whanau-centred model via the innovative Maori and Pasifika vaccination programme.

The island was put in the spotlight last week when a child returned a weak positive test before embarking on overseas travel.

On Friday night, the SDHB confirmed the island was Covid-19 free, and said the result was due to a case of rhinovirus that causes cold and flu symptoms.

The child’s family returned negative results, as did tests on the wider community.