Covid vaccination drive success

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Kai for Kids trustee Jaz McCully, left, gives Snow MacKenzie, and daughter Ella, 14, hamburgers following their covid vaccinations on Super Saturday at Eastfield Health, in Ashburton.

Ashburtonian Snow MacKenzie got his second covid vaccination dose last weekend, alongside his teen children, and then enjoyed a hamburger on offer from Kai for Kids Charity.

Mr Mackenzie – and his teenagers – were among the hundreds of Mid Cantabrians, aged 12 and over, who turned out in force to get their first or second covid vaccinations last weekend as part of the Super Saturday covid vaccination push.

Some were doing it for the community good, many to protect family and friends from the infectious Delta variant, and others, still on the fence, were lured in by the offer of giveaways such as hamburgers, sausages, flavoured milks, bottles of water, coffee and vouchers.

Nationwide there was a goal to reach 100,000 vaccinations.

It was exceeded with a final tally of 130,002 vaccinations carried out; 17,090 in Canterbury.

Canterbury District Health Board acting senior responsible officer for the Covid-19 response Ralph La Salle said Super Saturday was real success in the region with Canterbury rated the top DHB area for vaccinations.

‘‘Thanks to the efforts of our vaccination teams, volunteers and the Canterbury community.

‘‘We’d like to give a massive shout out to all of our amazing staff and volunteers, and all of those businesses who donated prizes as an added incentive for people to get involved,’’ he said.

‘‘Feedback from Cantabrians has been overwhelmingly positive … the kai and activities provided by vaccination teams seemed to be a big hit, with many commenting on their fun experiences at clinics.’’

However despite Super Saturday’s success, Mr La Salle said it was important to keep improving vaccination coverage across Canterbury.

It would also mean more certainty, and a chance to reconnect New Zealanders with the world.

‘‘Approximately 86 percent of our eligible enrolled population is now either fully vaccinated, has had a single dose or is booked to receive their vaccination.

‘‘We’re urging anyone yet to receive their vaccinations to get vaccinated to not only protect their whanau, but so we can all enjoy everything a classic Kiwi summer has to offer.

Mr La Salle said in the event of covid reaching Canterbury, the district was ‘‘well placed to manage any cases of Covid-19 confirmed in the region.

‘‘We care for people with infectious diseases that spread in the same way as Covid-19 each year, and our teams have well established protocols for managing any cases.

There was also frequent communication with primary care providers who knew what to do if a suspected case was to make contact, or arrive at their practice.

As a rural generalist hospital any Ashburton Hospital patients requiring Intensive Care Unit (ICU)-level care would be transferred to the region’s tertiary hospital in Christchurch, he said.

If covid presented in Canterbury there was safe management practice in place of covid-positive patients in the community which had been in place for some time.

It included information about how an exposure event would be managed at a general practice level.

In addition to the upgraded 33 bed Parkside Ground Medical space at Christchurch Hospital – the DHB currently has 36 physical beds within the ICU and Children’s High Care areas at the hospital, and also 32 negative pressure rooms across its facilities.