Dozens of ŌCHT tenants got their COVID-19 vaccinations at a mobile clinic in their communities.
Everyone who walks into the community lounges are greeted with a chorus of “kia ora”, the first of countless signs they’re genuinely supported in their important health journey.
Dozens were welcomed to to the first of the pilot vaccination clinics in ŌCHT communities run by Mihi, the University of Otago Christchurch’s Māori and Indigenous Health Institute.
Mihi is running a series of clinics at three of ŌCHT’s bigger complexes in east Christchurch, to provide vaccination opportunities in areas where COVID-19 vaccination uptake has been slow.
The first was at Mabel Howard Courts on Friday morning, before another at Jecks Place that afternoon.
By the end of the day, 35 people had either their first or second vaccination.
At Mabel Howard, there was an immediate burst of activity when the doors opened to their first visitors at 10.30am. By 10.40, five people had been vaccinated – and more were on their way.
“I’ll be back with someone else, see you soon,” a tenant said as she left the waiting area and made for the door.
“Kia ora, and thank you.”
She left with a goodie bag and koha that Mihi gives to thank people who are vaccinated for the first time. There’s also koha for vaccinated people who bring other first-timers.
She returned within the hour with five whanau and friends.
There were similar scenes at Jecks Place, where the vaccination session started half-an-hour earlier than planned.
A line of people formed outside the community lounge well before the vaccination team arrived.
Registered nurse Dawn gave people either their first or second jab. She says outreach has a significant and important part to play in improving vaccination rates across the city.
District health boards are pushing past the original goal of 90% total vaccination. Nobody should be left behind.
“We just couldn’t have got to the people we have without events like this, and with Mihi doing the mahi,” Dawn says.
“It’s making a real difference.”
People sit in a waiting area in the community lounge to be sure they’re fine after their vaccination.
St John emergency medical technician Kirsten keeps an eye on them – and enjoys seeing the smiles when they receive one of the goodie bags her daughter helped make.
The Mihi team also helps fully vaccinated tenants sort out their vaccine passes. They leave with passes downloaded to their phones. Hard copies are ordered, too.
ŌCHT tenancy advisor Hannah says people appreciated the chance to get vaccinated close-to-home.
“The general vibe was tenants were grateful that we made it easy and accessible for them, they did not have to stress about booking a time and making transport arrangements to a clinic they were not familiar with,” Hannah says.
More than half of the 35 vaccinations administered were first vaccinations.
Hannah says some got vaccinated for employment, to attend hospitality venues and for their whanau.
The last of the initial pilots is at Harman Courts at 12pm-2pm Friday, December 10.