Southern District Rolls out Vaccine to Group 3 Population

covid19 vaccination
  • DHB piloting new booking system
  • District surpasses 25,000 vaccines

COVID-19 vaccination centres in rural areas of the Southern district will begin vaccinating those in Group 3 of the Ministry of Health’s sequencing framework from May 17. Dunedin and Invercargill continue preparation to vaccinate Group 3 from mid-June.

Group 3 includes those aged 65 or over, those with a relevant underlying health condition, disabled people, pregnant people and adults in custodial settings.

“Due to the smaller populations in some of our rural areas, we have been able to progress through Group 2 vaccines more quickly and the delivery model is more efficient when we expand eligibility in these locations to the older population and people with relevant health conditions,” Southern DHB Covid-19 Vaccine Rollout Incident Controller, Hamish Brown said.

Brown said the COVID immunisation programme team is working closely with general practices and pharmacy, which will play an important role in building an equitable and efficient distribution model as the vaccine programme scales up.

The SDHB is piloting a new online booking system that allows people to select a date, time, and location most convenient to them; book it immediately; and change appointments themselves. It requires users to book first and second doses simultaneously, ensuring people leave the required minimum of 21 days between doses.

Access to this booking system will be circulated to the eligible Group 3 population through various channels, including health providers, as the rollout progresses across the region. Vaccination providers will have the capability to make appointments on behalf of those unable to use the online system, and a call centre is also provided to assist with bookings where needed.

Brown commended the teams who had been working hard behind the scenes to get the system off the ground.

“The rollout of the vaccine is progressing well across the district, surpassing 25,000 vaccines this week,” he said.

“As we work our way through the priority groups and scale up our delivery, it is important to have the right tools to manage those numbers and this booking system is an important part of that.”

Brown said this new booking system will be further replaced when Southern DHB joins the national booking system, currently under development by the Ministry of Health.

Brown extended his thanks to partners across the Southern health system, including WellSouth, general practices, the pharmacy sector, Māori health providers, rural hospitals, aged residential care providers in the successful start to vaccinating the district.