The first of 16 community Covid-19 vaccination centres for Maori and Pasifika in the Southern district was launched in Alexandra this week.

A collaborative whanau-centred approach to the rollout has been taken by Southern Health in an effort to remove barriers from accessing the vaccine, partnering with Arai Te Uru Whare Hauora, Awarua Whanau Services, Nga Kete Matauranga Pounamu Charitable Trust, Otakou Health Limited and Urururuwhenua Health Inc.

The rollout included multiple approaches for reaching Maori and Pacific communities, rural clinics and marae-based clinics, and the potential for alternate delivery models as the campaign progressed.

A combination of pre-booked vaccination appointments and community drop-in sessions where whanau could be vaccinated together was being employed by the centres.

Central Otago Maori community spokeswoman Francie Diver said Maori and Pasifika people were more likely to respond to the whanau-centred model as it “removed as many barriers as possible” for people accessing the vaccine.

SDHB associate Maori health strategy and improvement officer Nancy Todd said the focused approach was also an opportunity for those uncertain about receiving the vaccine to to ask questions and find out information.

“We want people to make a choice to come and get vaccinated,” she said.


Collaboration .A collaborative approach to the Covid-19 vaccine rollout is under way. At the first day of community vaccinations in Alexandra on Monday are (from left) Nancy Todd and Jill Gerken (both SDHB), Matewai Ririnui (Awarua Whanau Services), Meg Paulin (SDHB), Louise McKenzie (Central Otago Maori community), Peter Ellison (WellSouth), Fran Hunt (SDHB), Francie Diver (Central Otago Maori community), Ashley Reid (Otakou Health Ltd) and Matt Matalaere (Otakou Health Ltd).