This story appears on RNZ.co.nz. RNZ reports are republished by Kaniva Tonga in partnership.
Demand is already running hot for Covid-19 vaccines at a clinic being run by Māori and Pasifika health providers in Ōtautahi.
The Maui Clinic that opened today at Hornby Mall, is being run by Te Puawaitanga ki Ōtautahi and Tangata Atumotu Trust.
Canterbury District Health Board has been identified as a laggard in making the vaccine available, but now there are 10 vaccine clinics open in the city.
Te Puawaitanga manager Alison Bourn was told it would take up to two weeks before they were fully booked.
“Within 24 hours of going live on the national booking system last week, we were fully booked for the first two days. And I had a quick look last night and we’re fully booked for about 10 days now. So I’m pleased that we’ve been able to meet the needs of the community.”
Meanwhile, a Samoan community leader involved in promoting take up of the vaccine in Ōtautahi, wanted to see a more proactive approach to encouraging Pasifika peoples to come in for their Covid-19 vaccinations.
The comments came after less than a quarter of those initially sent invitations for a mass vaccination rollout in Manukau, Auckland booked themselves a slot.
Samoan community leader Reverend Fitifiti Luatua said one approach could be taking buses out into the community.
“So they can open that [clinic] 24 seven, but if there’s no one to bring [in] the ones that are at home, that’s part of the difficulty. So I would see a vehicle that goes around…and nurses and doctors [can say] come in. People might be doing shopping, they can come in and get the injection.”
Reverend Luatua, who will soon appear on billboards in Ōtautahi promoting the vaccine, said it was up to leaders such as him to advocate for its use.