New vaccine hub for Eastern Bay

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Te Puna Ora o Mataatua is opening a new vaccination hub in Whakatāne.

With booster vaccination rates at a low 35 per cent for Māori in the Eastern Bay of Plenty, it is hoped the opening of the Mataatua Vaccination Hub from Friday, March 11 will be timely.

The vaccination hub will launch across three days with free coffee, kai and ice-cream available for everyone receiving vaccinations and their whānau.

Te Puna Ora o Mataatua chief executive Dr Chris Tooley says the site is symbolic of the organisation’s partnership with mana whenua.

“Currently, we are the largest Eastern Bay of Plenty-based kaupapa Māori provider delivering vaccinations in the community,” says Chris.

“This new site, owned by Te Rahui Lands Trust, will allow us to create a hub for Mataatua vaccinations, and ultimately enable us to protect more whānau across the rohe.

“We are grateful to have support from the Te Rahui Lands Trust in our delivery of this essential service.”

Medical director Dr Jethro LeRoy is encouraging all in the region to look to the new vaccination hub as a source of trusted, reliable information and health care relating to Covid-19 vaccinations.

“Over the last year, we have seen how Covid-19 has affected other parts of the world and now that it is here we expect case numbers to grow rapidly and put our health system under considerable pressure,” says Jethro.

“As case numbers grow, both testing and isolation approaches will change in response, but vaccination remains our most effective weapon against the virus.

“We’re encouraging you to ensure your entire whānau is up to date with their Covid-19 vaccinations – that includes our pākeke getting their booster shots, and whānau ensuring rangatahi and tamariki are up to date with their vaccinations too.”

He says it’s important everyone does their part to protect the region’s most vulnerable.

“We should also be protecting our vulnerable kuia, kaumatua and those with chronic conditions by isolating when exposed, social distancing when out and about, and wearing our face masks inside public spaces."

The Mataatua Vaccination Hub opens on Friday March 11, 4pm-7pm, Saturday March 12, 10am-3pm and Sunday March 13 10am-3pm at 13 State Highway 30, The Hub, Whakatāne.

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