Vaccination clinic aimed at removing barriers

Members of the Pacific Island Advisory Charitable Trust ahead of the drop-in community vaccination clinic held at the centre in Invercargill on Saturday.

BREAKING down barriers and enabling people to be vaccinated in a familiar environment, were just some of the reasons the Pacific Island Advisory Charitable Trust (PIACT) team held a Covid-19 vaccination clinic in Invercargill on Saturday.

The clinic, which included the sounds of the Pasifika, food and giveaways, encouraged families to get vaccinated in a place where they were comfortable.

Queens Park General Practice staff carried out the vaccinations. About 200 were available.

PIACT chairman and former surgeon Dr George Ngaei said there were many reasons people had not been vaccinated.

“There’s a significant number of people who want to be vaccinated but hadn’t got around to doing it for whatever reason – some of it was work.

“This is an opportunity to deal with them.”

He said a small number of Pacific people were reluctant to get the vaccine, including some overstayers.

“The Government push has been that people can get vaccinated without any questions about their status, nor will there be any risk to these people in terms of law.”

General practitioner Dr Tabitha Leucker was also on hand to answer any questions from those who were unsure or were hesitant to be vaccinated.

As part of the clinic, referrals could also be made for any children who had not received the MMR (Measles, Mumps and Rubella) immunisation, Mr Ngaei said.

The trust had already overseen the vaccination of 450 people in its community before Saturday.

“We’re very proud about that.”

Nobody was really sure of the number of Pacific people living in Southland, he said.

“The official number is about 2500… but we believe there’s over 3000.”

This week, there were another three days of Covid-19 whanau vaccinations at the Bowmont St clinic, in partnership with Nga Kete Matauranga Pounamu Charitable Trust including today, with transport available for these clinics.