A Rotorua couple in the 70’s say they are confused and “angry” after turning their backs on the second Covid 19 vaccination in Rotorua.
Lex DHB says time was needed to ensure that vaccination centers were safe to operate under 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 Covid 19 vaccination on Wednesday this week.
Following the announcement of the Level 4 lockdown, the booking was canceled, which both considered appropriate.
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.
“We have all been told over and over again that this is not the case. If, it is When This [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.
The wife had a friend who was vaccinated in Turanga on Thursday and said Rotrova was another backwater.
“They all tell us to inject, continue: ‘Vaccinate, vaccinate, vaccinate’.
“You feel like you do 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. Do not respond to work. [They’re] Definitely not communicating very well. Every time there is an excuse. “
The couple re-booked by phone, and after explaining their husband’s heart condition, it was put on the priority list, meaning they would receive their vaccine 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’s been months since we’ve had a track record of getting a new timeline, which seems ridiculous. We’d love it sooner.
When they cancel you one day, it seems silly that you have to return that much time. “
“We were really angry. The whole situation, I just thought it was a mess.”
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 not acceptable 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 that it is working properly. They cannot hold others accountable.
“These are the ones I expect to make sure when they say that 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 unfortunately there has been a series of incidents, the national crisis has not helped which has put us at the 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 are all in it. Are together. “
Alan Wilson, chief operating officer of Lex DHB, said the health ministry had instructed that vaccination centers could reopen on Thursday if they could safely vaccinate below 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 it had never. The use of modern 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 described as 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
Local Democracy Reporting is a public interest news service run in collaboration with RNZ, the News Publishers Association and NZ On Air.