Midwife Rebecca Hay administers the first vaccination of the day to Morris Hodges.
No fear of needles. Brian Cave smiled throughout as he received an injection from Dr Tony Townsend.
Mahurangi’s first Covid-19 vaccination centre opened last week and retired resident Morris Hodges was the first to get the jab on the first official day of operation.
“It was available. It was offered to me and I think everybody should get vaccinated. I think it’s a duty to get vaccinated,” he said afterwards.
Morris was closely followed by retired bank manager Brian Cave, 87, who said he had no apprehensions about the vaccination and decided to get the injection as a precaution.
“I feel as good as gold now I have had it done,” he said.
Both men will need to return for a second shot in about 3 weeks.
The vaccination centre is operated by Coast to Coast Health Care, at 72 School Road in Wellsford.
Any Mahurangi resident who is eligible for vaccination can phone any Coast to Coast health clinic to make an appointment. Those currently eligible are those aged 65 or over, Maori, Pacific Islanders, frontline health workers, managed isolation and quarantine workers, and people with high health needs.
The rest of the population will start being vaccinated from next month.
Getting the vaccination takes about 30 minutes, which includes a 20-minute observation period following the injection.
Coast to Coast director Dr Tim Malloy said it was great to be able to open the centre, but added that it was ridiculous that previously Mahurangi residents had to travel to Auckland to be vaccinated.
“Yet again we were being disadvantaged because we live in the country,” he said.
“It was always from my perspective inevitable that somehow the system would have to bring the vaccine to the people and not the other way around. Seeing this eventuate is very satisfying.”
Dr Malloy said it took about three weeks to modify the Hauora Trust building to create the vaccination centre and local tradies had been “outstanding”.
He also praised local health workers who had trained to be vaccinators and stepped up to staff the centre. They include off-duty nurses, a pharmacist, a midwife and a physiotherapist.
Initially, the centre will be open five days a week, but this will likely expand to seven days. When running at full capacity, the centre is expected to perform around 70 vaccinations a day.