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Covid-19: Coupons, cash prizes offered to boost vaccine rates on West Coast as red looms

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Money, vouchers, music and food are all used to increase vaccination rates on the West Coast.

An event scheduled for Saturday in Westport will aim to increase vaccination rates against Covid-19 in Buller, which has the lowest rates on the South Island. About 79 percent of the eligible population in the district received at least their first dose.

This could mean that the district, or region, could be turned red when the government’s traffic light system goes into effect on December 3.

The west coast has the lowest vaccination rate on the South Island, with 87% of its residents having received their first dose. This is the only DHB zone that did not reach 90% of the first dose.

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According to the latest data from the Department of Health, 799 people on the west coast need to be vaccinated to meet the 90% first dose target.

A small number of businesses on the west coast plan not to use vaccination certificates.

A sushi store in Westport has confirmed it will switch to contactless takeout next week.

Hospitality businesses can only open to contactless withdrawal customers under the red and orange settings.

Barview Farms, near Greymouth, has decided to postpone its horse and pony riding lessons for at least the rest of the year.

Owner Claire Roy said she was fully vaccinated herself, but did not want to impose this on people entering her property.

“It’s just too complicated [and] not worth the risk. Right now, I’d rather go back, ”Roy said.

“It’s a strange time. It’s everyone’s prerogative to get the shot, and I’m not going to say “you can’t come here if you choose not to get the shot”. This is not how we drive.

Rehia McDonald Te HÄ ??  o Kawatiri kaiwhakahaere (operations manager) urges residents of the west coast to get vaccinated

Provided

Rehia McDonald Te HÄ ?? o Kawatiri kaiwhakahaere (operations manager) urges residents of the west coast to get vaccinated

Roy said the children’s lessons did not make any money for the business, but were offered to the community to give the children the chance to have a farm experience and learn more about horses. .

“It’s sad for the kids, but we’ll resume school after the New Year when everything has calmed down. I will look forward to it, ”she said.

Seven areas of the coast, including Haast, Greymouth and Hokitika, have first dose rates above 90%, according to the Department of Health.

No suburbs on the west coast are yet 90% fully vaccinated, and the government has said the few areas with the lowest vaccination rates will turn red.

Westland Mayor Bruce Smith said he would be very upset if the West Coast were put in red on December 3 when there were no cases of Covid on the coast.

“We’re unlikely to hit 90% before Christmas, but why put us in the red when there are only 800 unvaccinated people spread the same distance from Auckland to Wellington? Some of these people that you would never have met in your life. It makes no sense, ”he said.

Te Hā o Kawatiri kaiwhakahaere (operations manager) Rehia McDonald said she was working to push rates up at Buller.

She was hosting a community celebration and vaccination event on Saturday at the NBS Theater in Westport.

Luke Whaanga, third from NZ Idol, will perform as people browse the market stalls and a hangi and ice cream are served.

McDonald’s said anyone who receives their first dose will get a $ 20 voucher for groceries or fuel, and enter a raffle to win up to $ 500 in cash. Those who receive their second dose will get a coffee voucher and enter a $ 100 cash draw.

“My concerns relate to the entry of Covid into a community already affected by flooding and people living crammed into temporary housing. I am very worried, ”she said.

It targeted 250 vaccinations, especially young people and Maori whose rates were below 79% at the first dose.

West Coast DHB Covid-19 Vaccination Program Manager Helen Gillespie said people receiving their first dose by December 1 could move the West Coast to 90 percent fully vaccinated by Christmas.

This would “greatly reduce the likelihood of the region turning red for the summer,” she said.

Mobile pop-up clinics would be in Moana and Cobden on Friday, and Fox River on Sunday.

Mobile clinics could go to any workplace on the west coast to offer food, information and vaccines, she said.

Westport clinics have resumed operations five days a week, with fixed clinics in Greymouth and Hokitika being open seven days a week.


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