Covid 19 coronavirus Delta outbreak: Man drove 2 hours trying to get vaccine, sites all shut

A Kāpiti man drove for two hours looking for a vaccination site after he showed up for his appointment only to find the centre was shut.

Russell Wells, who lives in Te Horo, had an appointment for his second dose of the Pfizer vaccine at the main Ōtaki Covid-19 vaccination centre at 12.30pm yesterday.

He kept an eye on his phone all morning in case he received a text saying his appointment would need to be rescheduled after the move to alert level 4 briefly put the vaccination rollout on hold.

But after receiving no communication to say otherwise, he left work to go to his scheduled appointment.

“When I drove there I thought it looked a bit deserted and there was no sign of anything and when I went to the door it was definitely shut. Nobody there.”

Wells figured out Ōtaki came under MidCentral DHB and looked up other centres in the area which were doing vaccinations.

One was closed and the other, a chemist, informed him they weren’t doing vaccines that day and he should have been told.

Wells then drove to Levin to scope out other vaccination sites in the town, but they were all closed too.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said yesterday at the 1pm Covid-19 update that a phased approach was being taken to re-opening vaccination sites with alert level 4 protocols in place.

“So please, if you have a booking and you’ve not had any other communication from your provider, please still go because we’re expecting you.”

MidCentral’s Chief Medical Officer Kelvin Billinghurst said the Ōtaki clinic was cancelled after the initial 48-hour pause was announced.

The clinic was being phased back in over the next few days with additional protocols in place to keep everyone safe, Kelvin Billinghurst said.

The DHB’s vaccination team has worked hard to contact everyone affected by the pause in the vaccination rollout, he said.

The majority of people who were booked in for a vaccine were informed by Healthline, he said.

“Efforts were also made by the MidCentral Vaccination Programme team to check each person booked for our Ōtaki and Levin clinics had received the message.”

Billinghurst said the DHB apologised for any inconvenience to anyone who may not have been contacted in time.

“We are more than happy to rebook these people as soon as possible.”

People can call the Covid-19 Vaccination Healthline on 0800 28 29 26 8am-8pm, seven days a week.

Wells said last night he has booked himself in for his second dose at a Levin pharmacy on August 28.

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