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Etu Pasifika Covid-19 vaccination centre re-opens in Christchurch

Etu Pasifika Pacific health centre in Christchurch
Etu Pasifika Pacific health clinic. Photo: Tagata Pasifika

Etu Pasifika, the largest Pacific health provider in Christchurch, re-opened their Covid-19 vaccination centre last week and are experiencing a surge in bookings for the vaccine from Pacific families.

Clinical Director for Etu Pasifika, Dr Monica Nua-George says the change in alert levels has seen more Pacific people calling their clinic to book their vaccination for themselves and their families.

“We’re looking at a lot more people than our previous weeks and we have processes in place to manage the increased load while maintaining the Alert Level 4 restrictions. Since the move to Alert Level 4, there has been a noticeable increase in our Pacific people contacting us for vaccination bookings which is fantastic.”

Dr Nua-George reassures that the processes and protocols in place, ensure that those who come in are administered the vaccination in the safest way possible. These include a careful screening process, controlled numbers of people in the clinic at a time, regular sanitizing of hands, frequent non-contact temperature checks and mandatory mask usage.

Etu Pasifika has also included a “Drive through” Service for groups of four or more people that runs alongside their in-person clinic services. This service has proven effective in cutting down wait times and ensuring that the lines of people keep moving.

Last week she was hoping the team could vaccinate at least 150 people a day and says, “We would be really happy with those numbers because then we know our Pacific people are coming to get vaccinated.”

But last Friday the team at Etu Pasifika exceeded this target and vaccinated 186 people and are now aiming to safely vaccinate 300 people a day. A target that is realistic given the level of demand from the Pacific community and the proven efficiency of the vaccination process they have in place that will meet this demand in a safe and timely manner.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced last week that those aged 12-15 are now eligible to be vaccinated with their families.

The Ministry of Health has outlined the process, with parents or guardians able to book their own or any child in their family group. Those with an existing booking can add their 12–15-year-old child to it or make an additional booking.

Dr Nua-George assures that the vaccine is safe for children in this age bracket.

“Trust the information from the Ministry of Health because the decisions they make are to keep everyone safe. The vaccine itself is safe. We should not be worried about the vaccine and should be more concerned about catching Covid-19 and how our households would be detrimentally affected.”

Etu Pasifika’s current vaccination centre hours are Monday to Friday 9am – 5pm with walk-ins welcome. This weekend the team is also welcoming large prearranged group bookings (churches/Pacific families) for a mass vaccination drive. The team has the ability to book whole families so please call 0800 388 434 or if the line is busy, please email [email protected] to confirm your booking.

Pasifika Medical Association Group

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