WESTERN District Health Service (WDHS) is set to begin vaccinating people over 50 in the coming days.
National Cabinet gave the go-ahead for people aged 50 to 69 to receive the AstraZeneca jab last week, bringing forward the next stage of the country's COVID-19 rollout.
WDHS has several hundred doses available for people aged 50 and over and GPs are also expected to have availability for this age group by May 17.
Acting chief executive, Nick Starkie says opening clinics for over 50s was an important step in protecting the community and reducing the social and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Vaccinations will not only reduce the likelihood of people getting sick from COVID, but also the disruption caused by preventative measures including border closures and travel restrictions,” he said.
“If we are to get back to some normality, we really need everyone who can, to get their COVID shot.”
The Hamilton and Alexandra College principal, Andrew Hirst said he had personally witnessed the high grade of service the hospital had maintained over the last year and considered it his duty to be vaccinated.
“I was privileged to watch firsthand the detail and care that WDHS provided to our community over the past 12 months,” he said.
“Now the opportunity for me as a citizen to do my part to minimise risk and improve the health of our community, (I see) as a privilege.