Wanted: People qualified to administer a Covid-19 vaccine jab.
A plea has gone out for help with the Covid-19 vaccination rollout as health officials prepare for the logistics of dosing the entire population.
Berrys Pharmacy, which has a contract through MidCentral Health to provide the Covid-19 vaccine service in Levin, has two accredited vaccinators on staff giving 35 doses each day.
At current rates they could manage the workload. So far, only high-risk frontline workers and people living in high-risk places, kaumātua and their households were being vaccinated.
But the vaccination rollout is about to ramp up.
As of next month, anyone aged 65 or older, frontline workers and anyone with an underlying health condition would join queues, and more qualified vaccinators were needed to meet that demand.
The remainder of the population aged 16 and older could get vaccinated from July.
Berrys Pharmacy special projects pharmacist Lynette Wolfenden said they simply needed more accredited vaccinators.
"It's a limited service with two vaccinators on staff. We really need assistance to enable us to give the best delivery service we can," she said.
"I am sure there are people out there. We need help - ASAP."
Vaccinators were required to be registered health professionals with a current practising certificate in order to be a qualified vaccinator.
The pharmacy was hopeful it could attract registered or retired medical professionals with the appropriate qualifications to join the vaccination effort.
Wolfenden said any vaccination roster would be flexible, if people were only available part-time or at certain times of the day. It was a paid position.
"The more the merrier," she said, and could be contacted on 367-3644.
At current vaccination rates, four more fulltime vaccinators working five days a week could see more than 2000 vaccinations per month.
The Pfizer vaccine required two doses, administered three weeks apart.
Wolfenden said they could look to set up another vaccination area at their sister pharmacy at Queen St East, or open a weekend clinic, if more vaccinators were available.
"We would make more space. We can juggle this. We are not afraid of the logistics. We simply need people to administer the vaccine," she said.
She wanted to assure people that the Pfizer vaccine had been proven by world health authorities to be safe, and it was important to trust the science.
"It's such an important thing. If you look at what is happening around the world ... here is a chance for New Zealand to get herd immunity," she said.
Ōtaki women Jacqueline Towersey was one of those vaccinated this week and said she hardly felt it.
"It was a tiny prick in the arm," she said.
Vaccinations arrived to the pharmacy from Auckland as ordered and were stored at between 2-8 degrees. They had a shelve life of 80 hours once they had arrived.
The centre hadn't had to waste a vaccine yet due to somebody not making an appointment, as they called on someone from a ballot list to take their place.
Berrys Pharmacy were taking online bookings on its website.
Meanwhile, two other additional sites in the MidCentral rohe were offering Covid-19 vaccinations - Muaūpoko Tribal Authority on Oxford St and Raukawa Whānau Ora on Bath St.
MidCentral DHB nurse educator Māori Bonnie Matehaere had so far been vaccinating in Dannevirke and Palmerston North and said the response has been positive.
"Most people that I've spoken to have commented on how easy the vaccination process was for them," she said.
MidCentral DHB chief medical officer Dr Kelvin Billinghurst said taking the vaccine out to the community is key when it comes to ensuring equitable access.
"We are committed to making sure people and whānau in our rohe have easy access to the vaccine. Our plan involves having vaccines delivered in fixed sites throughout MidCentral, as well as at participating general practices and community pharmacies.
"But we also have the capacity to stand up mobile sites to ensure barriers to access that many may face are removed."
More than 6000 people have received their first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine in the MidCentral DHB rohe since the rollout began in March.
The vaccination programme continues towards the target of vaccinating everyone in the region who wishes to take part.
"The vaccine is free and safe, and we will have enough for everyone who wants it. By getting vaccinated, together we are protecting ourselves, our whānau and our communities," he said.
For more information, visit the Unite Against Covid-19 website or the Ministry of Health website.