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Whanganui Midweek - 2021-06-09

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City vaccination centre set to play key role

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A large Covid-19 vaccination centre opened in Whanganui city centre last Tuesday. Named Te Rito, the Whanganui Wellness and Vaccination Centre is in the former Warehouse Stationery store in lower Victoria Ave. The centre was blessed by kauma¯tua John Maihi, supported by other kauma¯tua and kuia before registering its first appointment at 11am, with 190 bookings lined up for the first day. Early on Thursday morning, the Whanganui vaccination campaign delivered its 10,000th dose, tracking well ahead of plan. Te Rito will play a key role in the rollout of the Pfizer vaccine to the Group 3 population. Group 3 comprises those 65 or over; those with relevant underlying health conditions; Ma¯ori and Pasifika aged 50 and over; and the disabled. This is several thousand members of the community. Those who are in this group are invited to phone 0800 888 479 or email covid19@wdhb.org.nz to make an appointment. The Te Rito centre is not a walkin service, and appointments need to be booked by phone or email. Louise Allsopp, Whanganui’s Covid-19 lead executive, said the progress of the vaccine rollout varied between regions, with each DHB taking an approach that worked best for its community. “Our vaccine rollout is a massive undertaking. Group 3 is a large group so we will be flexible in how we work through this group, with some people prioritised ahead of others. “There will be enough vaccine for everyone in New Zealand aged 16 and over, and we appreciate people’s patience as we work to protect our community.” Note: The name Te Rito translates as the heart of the harakeke — it is the new growth at the centre of the flax plant. The surrounding leaves are there to support its growth, to protect it so its growth can be strong, straight and true — very much in line with what the centre is all about.

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