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Rakiura Stewart Island’s COVID-19 vaccination clinic a huge success

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More than 80 percent of Rakiura Stewart Island’s eligible residents have had at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine after 257 people were vaccinated at a successful two-day clinic there this week.

“We’re thrilled that so many people embraced this opportunity to get vaccinated in their own community and we got a lot of positive feedback that residents were very pleased we came to them,” clinic lead Nadine Goldsmith, of Awarua Whānau Services, said today (30 July).

A further 52 people from Rakiura Stewart Island’s 385 eligible population had already received their vaccination elsewhere, according to COVID-19 immunisation records.

There was strong interest in New Zealand’s southernmost COVID-19 vaccination clinic at the Stewart Island Community Centre with 66 people vaccinated at its four booths within the first hour of its doors opening.

The clinic was operated by staff from Awarua Whānau Services, Ngā Kete Mātauranga Pounamu Charitable Trust and SDHB, with support from WellSouth Primary Heath Network.

A second dose clinic will run on the island on the 18th and 19th August to ensure residents are fully vaccinated, but the team will take enough vaccine to offer first doses to any residents who missed out on this week’s clinic.

Southern District Health Board COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout Incident Controller Hamish Brown congratulated the team and Rakiura Stewart Island community for the clinic’s success.

“The clinic was designed to bring the community together and that is what it has done. The clinic team created a very welcoming atmosphere and did a phenomenal job in vaccinating so many people in such an efficient manner,” he said.

“This is a really positive response to the programme and we are very pleased that the local people took the opportunity to protect themselves and each other, particularly as a place that is popular with tourists.”

Ulva Island/Te Wharawhara sanctuary guide Ulva Goodwillie was relieved to get vaccinated at the clinic yesterday (29 July).

She believed the COVID-19 vaccine would help to keep people in her community safe in a similar way to stopping invasive species reaching the bird sanctuary, home to some of New Zealand’s most iconic and endangered species.

“(The vaccine) is to protect you against any invasive predators. Just as we try to keep Ulva Island predator-free, we should be able to do the same for ourselves.”

Media enquiries: SDHB Communications,