Gore practices give jab

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Protection...Gore Health nurse practitioner Karen Isteed receives her first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine from practice nurse Keri Young last week. PHOTO: SANDY EGGLESTON

Gore GP practices are some of the first in New Zealand to trial rolling out the Covid-19 vaccine as well as seeing patients as usual.

Until now, people have been vaccinated in specially organised clinics.

Gore Health Centre and Gore Medical Centre were taking part in the trial.

Gore Health business manager Rhonda Reid said the GP practices were in the process of contacting group three patients who were aged over 65 or who had an existing health condition to organise an appointment to receive the Covid-19 vaccination.

“We will contact them when we want them,” Mrs Reid said.

“We’re getting on to group three people quicker than anywhere else.”

The centre had also started vaccinating patients.

People needed to be injected twice with the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and it would take until June for everyone in group three to be vaccinated.

The second dose of the vaccine needed to be given three weeks after the first.

Vaccinations for the general population would not start until mid-July.

“People need to be patient because it is more difficult than the flu vaccine and it will be a longer rollout. We can do less numbers per day.

“What we are putting in place now will last for five to six months.”

On Friday a one-off clinic was held at Gore Hospital to vaccinate healthcare workers.

WellSouth nursing director Wendy Findlay said it was a “milestone day” for Gore.

“It’s a good population size to try things with,” Mrs Findlay said.

“The two GP practices work well together,” Mrs Reid said.

So far in the Southern District Health Board area about 25,000 doses of the vaccine had been given.

The vaccination schedule had been set by the Ministry of Health, Mrs Findlay said.

“It’s not the practices’ decision about that .. so people can’t go out of sequence.”

It was very important people were vaccinated against Covid-19, she said.

“It’s our best form of protection and defence against Covid as an individual and as a country.”

People should wait until they were contacted.

“Don’t flood your general practice because they will struggle to cope with the urgent .. as well as delivering the Covid vaccine.”

Gore Medical Centre practice manager Petria Falconer said the practice was following the same procedure as Gore Health except their patients booked online or by calling an 800 number.

“We are sending out the website link and the 800 number for our group-three patients to book in,” Ms Falconer said.

The centre vaccinated 39 people on Monday.

“It went very well,” Ms Falconer said.