Canterbury Kicks Off COVID-19 Vaccinations

About 40 border workers from Christchurch Airport have
been vaccinated today at a nearby community based testing
centre as the COVID-19 immunisation programme starts rolling
out in the South Island.

They included a range of
people, such as aviation security workers, cleaners, police,
customs workers and health protection officers who screen
passengers arriving on international
flights.

Yesterday (23 February), 35 of the
Canterbury-based vaccination team gave and received the
Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine to prepare for today’s
rollout.

About 20 per cent of New Zealand’s
approximately 12,000 border and Managed Isolation &
Quarantine (MIQ) workers are based in Canterbury and it’s
fantastic that the first group have taken up the opportunity
to get their first dose of the vaccine as we roll this
programme out to all the region’s border and MIQ workers
over the next few weeks.

“These people play a
critical role at the frontline of our continued efforts to
keep the virus out of our communities and we’re very
grateful for their commitment and hard work. They’re the
most at risk of exposure to COVID-19 and it is important
that we prioritise their protection,” COVID-19 Vaccine
Immunisation Programme Clinical Lead Dr Joe Bourne
said.

Canterbury DHB clinician Dr Alan Pithie,
Consultant Physician in Infectious Diseases and General
Medicine, said the rollout of the immunisation programme in
Canterbury was an important milestone in the fight against
COVID-19.

“Our staff are putting in a huge amount of
work to provide those at the border in Canterbury with the
best protection against COVID-19.

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“This is just the
start of the vaccination rollout and we are confident that
the system we have created is robust and efficient. We are
really proud of our team, this is obviously a new situation
for everyone, but it is incredibly important that we
complete this first phase as quickly as possible,” Dr
Pithie said.

The vaccines have been transported in
special containers to the South Island after being
transported there from the ultra-low temperature (ULT)
storage facility in Auckland.

Health Protection
Officer Debbie Smith said she was relieved to get vaccinated
today against COVID-19.

“It’s another level of
armour and I feel like a superhero on the inside now.
Working on the frontline, you tend to live your life
differently. There have been events I’ve thought twice
about going to because of the potential risk I pose and
that’s where the vaccination is going to let me live my
life a little bit more normally, I hope.”

Her
colleague and fellow Health Protection Officer, Jimmy Wong,
said getting vaccinated was a huge relief because it meant
greater protection for his family.

“I’ve got a
three-month-old baby at the moment and it’s very important
to me to do what I can to protect myself and to protect my
family.”

Both have worked at Christchurch
International Airport since 26 January last year and one of
their key roles is health screening people returning to New
Zealand on international flights, which puts them in close
contact with people potentially with COVID-19.

Airport
cleaner Cherry Alinsob said she was very keen to get
vaccinated and pleased to get that opportunity today as one
of the first in Christchurch.

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“I’m happy so I can
protect myself and my family. I have felt a little nervous
working at the airport and this is a real
relief.”

She works full-time for OCS Ltd at the
airport and her role includes sanitising touch points,
clearing rubbish and ensuring surfaces remain clean and
safe.

Footage of today’s vaccinations will be
provided this afternoon when
available

© Scoop Media

 

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About Lokesh Jaral 68886 Articles
Being an enthusiast who likes to spend time binge-watching TV shows and movies and following the hype in the media and entertainment world. Exploring the field of technology and entertainment, I am here to share the varied experiences on this blog.

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