Bay of Plenty reaches vaccine milestone
A Western Bay of Plenty teen last week received a milestone dose of the Covid-19 vaccine in Katikati — the 250,000th dose administered in the Bay of Plenty. Paea Uilou (Nga¯i Te Rangi, Te Arawa, Nga¯ ti Tonga) received the first of two vaccines at Te Rereatuka¯hia on Tuesday morning, thanks to Te Manu Toroa Mobile Vaccination Unit. “I want to get vaccinated so that I can reconnect with my wha¯ nau here and overseas,” she says. Her mother, Valarie Uilou (Nga¯i Te Rangi, Te Arawa) says she and her daughter also spoke at length about the extra layer of protection the vaccine provides before the 16-year-old rolled up her sleeve. “If we all get vaccinated, it will bring some normality back to our lives. If we don’t, the disconnect with our wha¯nau across the world and the country is going to continue,” Valarie Uilou added. Te Manu Toroa’s mobile vaccinating service has been focused on delivering to high-need Ma¯ori communities in the Bay of Plenty since it began delivering services in June. It will have pop-up sites and evening clinics around the Bay of Plenty in October. Te Manu Toroa health services ma¯ ngai Chris Jacob, who led the clinic at Te Rereatuka¯hia when the milestone was reached, says the focus is firmly on protecting whakapapa and people generally. The mobile vaccination unit is one of the many kaupapa Ma¯ ori providers being supported by the Bay of Plenty District Health Board to offer the Covid-19 vaccination to its community in engaging ways — with an emphasis on opportunities, and options, in the coming weeks. “Whether it’s in a mall, at a community event, or closer to home — together with our partners, we are aiming to be there with information, and in many cases, an opportunity to provide a vaccine. The vaccine continues to offer us the best protection against Covid-19,” Covid-19 incident controller Trevor Richardson said.