A 70-year-old Rotorua couple says they were left in a state of confusion and “anger” after being stopped for a second Covid 19 vaccination in Rotorua on Thursday.
Lex DHB says time was needed to ensure that vaccination centers were safe to operate under Alert Level 4.
The husband and wife, who did not want to be named for medical privacy, are in Group 3, and were booked for their second number. Covid-19 Vaccination on Wednesday this week
Following the announcement of the Alert Level 4 lockdown, the booking was canceled, which both considered appropriate.
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At a press conference on Wednesday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the vaccination program would resume “all over New Zealand” from 8am on Thursday.
Feeling a sense of urgency due to the man’s heart condition, the couple visited the Rotorua Vaccination Center on Thursday in the hope that they would be able to get the vaccination they were scheduled for Wednesday.
The wife said he retreated with about six other people.
Vaccination center staff told the gathering that the center was closed due to PPE training.
The wife had a friend who was vaccinated in Toranga on Thursday and said Rotorua was once again another backwater.
“We have all been told time and time again that this is not the case. [Delta outbreak] It’s going to happen and all of a sudden, they can’t open a vaccination center because they have to do PPE training. Why wasn’t all this done long ago?
“It’s just ridiculous that they couldn’t manage it all this time.
“They all tell us to inject, to vaccinate, to vaccinate, to vaccinate.”
“You think you’re doing everything right, you do everything they tell you to do, and everything goes well, but then they tell you the truth or with it at all. They don’t respond to work. Certainly it’s not communicating very well. Every time there is an excuse. “
The couple re-booked by phone and after reporting their husband’s heart condition, they were placed on the priority list, which means they will be vaccinated on September 2.
The wife claimed that if she had not been added to the priority list, she would have been told to line up for her second injection in October.
“It takes months of derailment to get a new time, which seems ridiculous.
“We would have liked it sooner. When they cancel you one day, it seems silly that you have to give back so much time.”
“We were really angry.
“The whole situation, I just thought it was a waste.”
She said her husband had a stent last year and her doctor was not happy with her heartbeat and referred her back to see a specialist at Waikato Hospital.
Rotorua MP Todd McKelly said he was disappointed with the situation.
The government has known since the lockdown last year that Coveid could return.
“I would expect everything needed to make sure people are safe and can get their vaccinations done, including basic PPE training.”
He called on the government to “ensure that vaccinators in Rotorua are doing it safely and that anyone who wants to be vaccinated in Rotorua can get it quickly.”
“It’s the only way to make sure New Zealanders are safe.”
He thought the two-week priority time for the couple’s vaccination was unacceptable because one of them was “high risk”.
“The message from the Prime Minister yesterday was that no one will be pushed back and you don’t have to meet, you can just be present.”
He said there was “growing confusion” about the availability of vaccines and the government needed to clarify that.
“Kiwis need to know that they can all get their vaccines quickly, especially those who are healthy and elderly.
He said it would be easy to shift the blame to the District Health Board (DHB).
“The government is in charge of it, they are the people who are making the rules. They are the ones who need to make sure it is working properly. They cannot hold others accountable.
“These are the ones I expect to make sure that when they say vaccination is working everywhere in the country.”
Labor MP Tomti Kofi, who lives in Rotorua, said he sympathized with the couple and “took note of their concerns”.
“Our CoVid 19 centers are on the front lines of this crisis and our workers in these areas need as much help as they can get.
“It seems that there has been a series of unfortunate incidents, the national crisis has not helped which put us on alert level 4 lockdown.
“The tension is going to be very high at the moment and I would encourage everyone to breathe and trust the system. Our front line workers are doing their best and they will not always fix it, but we all Together in it
Alan Wilson, Lex DHB’s chief operating officer, said the Ministry of Health had instructed that vaccination centers could reopen on Thursday if they could safely deliver vaccines under Alert Level 4.
“We were unable to do so at any of our centers for a variety of reasons.”
He said the Lex DHB Vaccination Centers had so far been operating under Level 1 guidelines and that many of its workforce had never worked in a health setting before, and that was why they had never been modernized. The use of PPE was not trained.
“There’s a strict procedure around that. This staff plays an important role, and involves the people in front of the center – such as security – and the admin staff. We also received health screening training because security and Admin staff are the first people to see our customers. “
He said that physical barriers have to be erected which were not required before, and workstations, front desks and vaccination areas need to maintain the two-meter distance rule.
“Before making these changes, the hub would be less productive when it was not needed.
“Staff who are considered weak due to their age or other health conditions need to be re-assigned to work at this new level.”
He said vaccination centers in Rotorua and Tape were closed on Thursday, but both reopened on Friday.
The Ministry of Health and Covid 19 Response Minister Chris Hopkins were contacted for comment.
Group 3 includes people over the age of 65 who are eligible for the free flu vaccine, are pregnant, have a disability or are caring for someone with a disability, are obese, have high blood pressure which Two or more medications are needed, adults in prison, or are diagnosed with severe mental illness