Covid-19: The Canterbury District Health Board is racing to use an additional 1400 vaccine doses.

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A Christchurch general practitioner was shocked to learn that Canterbury District Health Board (CDHB) employees were making personal Facebook posts informing people that there were spare Covid-19 vaccines available.

The CDHB received an excess of 1400 Covid-19 vaccine doses last week, which must be used by today or they will expire.

Vanessa Weenink, chair of the New Zealand Medical Association’s General Practitioner Council and a GP, said she found out about the excess vaccinations when she called to schedule her own vaccination appointment and was assured she should get in sooner than expected.

“I was surprised to be told I could go down on Monday afternoon.

“I attended and found out it was a whole lot of spare vaccine and, subsequent to that, learnt that there had been Facebook announcements and various things about it.

“But I was very happy to have got my vaccine, and some of my colleagues have got their vaccines too.”

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She mentioned that the CDHB had created a list of GPs who were struggling with a high volume of Covid-19 swabs and would take priority for vaccination if there were any remaining doses, but she did not think this schedule was implemented in reaction to the extra 1400 doses.

“It seemed a little bit ad hoc that the front-line vaccinators felt they needed to send out Facebook messages to get the word out, especially when the other contingency plans don’t seem to be activated. That was a little bit unusual.”

Dr. Weenink mentioned that the vaccination rollout in Christchurch has slowed, but it is reassuring to know that they will speed up vaccines when required.

CDHB executive in charge of Covid-19 response Ralph La Salle stated that clinics were set up yesterday for workers at the Christchurch and Burwood campuses to use the vaccines, and that these will be maintained today.

La Salle has mentioned that they will be providing extra vaccines to the household contacts of border and controlled isolation and quarantine staff, as well as frontline healthcare workers.

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He mentioned that they hoped they would prevent any vaccine waste and were investigating whether they were given the extra doses.

 

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