A retired nurse who put up her hand to help vaccinate the Thames-Coromandel population has been watching the district’s vax rates rise.
For Pam Smith, seeing the figures increase has made her feel “very proud” as the district worked to curb the spread of Covid-19.
Pam is part of the Te Korowai Hauora o Hauraki team of vaccinators who have been travelling around the district providing hard-to-reach communities with an opportunity to get their Covid-19 Pfizer vaccination.
She retired from the industry seven years ago, but rolled up her sleeves when the Waikato District Health Board called for experienced hands to administer vaccines in the region.
“I just wanted to do something to support the vaccination drive,” she told The Profile.
“It’s nice to be able to reflect back on your work day and feel satisfied that you’ve helped in some way.”
Pam is a Bowen Therapy practitioner in the Thames-Coromandel. Bowen is a form of bodywork that aims to reduce pain by stimulating the nervous system. She’s been juggling her work with administering vaccinations and said it had been a “privilege to be part of this ongoing process”.
“Being part of a team has been really special for me,” she said. “What has been reinforced is that teamwork and respect is paramount.”
As at November 26, the Waikato DHB, which includes Thames Valley, had 90.28 per cent of its population receive their first dose vaccination. However, 28,622 doses were still needed to reach 90 per cent fully vaccinated.
The Thames-Coromandel district was 2726 doses away from reaching 90 per cent fully vaccinated; while the Hauraki district needed 2678 doses.
Janet Leonard was in Paeroa last week administering first and second jabs at a pop-up vaccination site at McDonald’s.
She too is a retired nurse who answered the call of duty when approached.
“I thought, well, I can do something useful. I could sit at home and read a book but that’s not actually saving the world.”
Both Janet and Pam said administering injections was “elementary” for them – with the process over and done within seconds.
Back in September, Unichem Thames owner and pharmacist Anas Wadood told The Profile that when the pharmacy started its vaccination roll-out on August 2, it initially “took off”, with many people coming in to get their first and second Covid-19 jabs. He only had one person get cold feet.
“I’ve personally only had one patient who got into the room, was ready to get vaccinated, but then saw the needle and decided not to.
“That was absolutely his choice, and I just said to him that if he changed his mind at any time, we’d be happy to book him again.”
Mr Wadood understood people did have phobias of needles – even minor fears which saw them tense up or look away from the oncoming injection.
He said the Pfizer vaccine needle was “a little bit” longer than, for example, the flu vaccine; however, the deed itself only lasted a few seconds and came with a myriad of benefits.
“Getting vaccinated is an important step to take, especially nowadays, and if you look at the bigger picture, there are more benefits to getting it.”