30 June 2021

Vaccinations for Chatham Islanders to kick off tomorrow

Canterbury’s COVID-19 vaccination roll out is about to chalk up another major milestone with vaccinations starting on the remote Chatham Islands tomorrow, Thursday 1 July.

There are approximately 560 eligible residents on Chatham and Pitt Islands who are currently being invited to receive their vaccinations at the Chatham Islands Health Centre, and at Pitt Island School. Kuia and kaumatua will be among the first people to receive their vaccinations.

Senior Responsible Officer for the COVID-19 response in Canterbury, Ralph La Salle says rolling out vaccinations to the Chathams community is a huge undertaking and has provided the DHB with some logistical hurdles to overcome.

“Given the remote location of the islands and the small population, we are vaccinating the whole community at once because this is more efficient and will make best use of our resources.

“Getting the vaccine over to the islands has required an enormous amount of logistical planning, as will getting vaccines from the main island over to Pitt Island. We also needed to make sure we had trained vaccinators on the islands, says Ralph.

Chatham and Pitt Island residents are fortunate to have two fully-trained vaccinators, Robyn Preece (who farms on Chatham Island) and Fiona Goodwin, who have completed their training in Canterbury and will be carrying out all of the vaccinations.

Robyn says that while the community has been really lucky when it comes to COVID-19 so far, they can’t be complacent.

“We’re still very much at risk and we don’t want to find ourselves in a situation like Fiji. The best thing we can do to protect ourselves, our mokopuna, whānau and our whole community is to get vaccinated and I’m excited to be part of the team making this happen,” Robyn says.

The DHB continues to deliver its vaccination roll out to plan and delivering clinics in remote areas is an important part of the roll out’s current phase.

“We’re looking forward to rolling out vaccinations to this close-knit community so they can all do their bit to protect each other from the virus,” says Ralph.


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