Covid 19 coronavirus: Ministry of Health apologises after woman, son miss out on vaccine

The Ministry of Health’s northern coordination centre has apologised after it ran out of vaccines by lunchtime and those with appointments missed out.

A South Auckland woman and her son were two to have turned up to the Highbrook Vaccination Centre on Saturday for their Covid-19 vaccine, only to be told there was none left.

Aggravating the situation was that the woman had an appointment, yet people without one, or “walk-ins” managed to get the vaccines instead.

The Northern Region Health Coordination Centre [NRHCC] has apologised over the incident and says it is trying to make the vaccination process “as easy and convenient for people as possible”.

Another Auckland woman has contacted the Herald this morning saying her husband also missed out on Saturday after turning up and being told to wait in his car.

After about an hour he noticed people lining up at the door to get the vaccine only to be told it would be another 90 minutes before he was seen.

He left after 2 and a half hours without his vaccine, despite his appointment. Others included a woman from the Waikato who also didn’t get one, she said.

Her husband was further confused after being rebooked for midnight tonight – when the centre’s hours are 8am to 8pm.

Meanwhile the South Auckland woman, who didn’t want to be named, is married to a border worker and therefore she and their son are eligible for the vaccine.

“They said ‘sorry you’ll have to re-schedule as we’ve run out of vaccines because we’ve had too many walk-ins’.

“I said ‘oh you’ve got to be kidding me’. It cost me in petrol. We had to come from [South Auckland].

She immediately began making steps to re-book their appointments but they struck further trouble online; as they had already been booked in, the site wouldn’t let them re-book.

One issue in particular was that it didn’t recognise her date of birth, “I didn’t exist”, she said.

That meant a call to the 0800 number. They were eventually booked in as “walk-ins” for this morning.

She was now nervous for today’s appointment and hoped all would go smoothly.

She said although she didn’t mind people who walked in, it seemed logical to keep enough vaccines for those who had made the effort to book an appointment and therefore should be given priority.

“It’s fine for walk-ins but keep aside the allocated vaccines.

“So who knows if we’re going to get it [today].”

She said other people who missed out on Saturday were being asked to re-book after Easter, but she couldn’t do that as was back at work.

The woman also couldn’t understand why family members of border workers couldn’t just go to their workplace and get the vaccine so they could all get it done together. They were also often less busy, she said.

“It’s a total cock-up. It’s total incompetence. It’s a joke. You go and book your vaccine and you’re told ‘oh sorry, you can’t do it today’.

“How many others go and book their vaccine that are only to be told that?”

A spokesperson for the NRHCC said ordinarily people who had appointments “would always be prioritised”.

“However, the centre had a last minute rush on bookings on Saturday which resulted in delays for some people.

“We did act as swiftly as we could to either arrange for people to be vaccinated elsewhere or to rebook but we do apologise for the inconvenience it may have caused.”

The vaccination rollout was the largest logistical operation ever undertaken in the country’s health sector and they did expect “some issues along the way”.

“We are grateful for the public’s support and patience as we navigate this unprecedented process.”

Vaccinations were still ongoing for other MIQ, border workers and their household contacts across the Auckland metro area.

“As we moved into the phase of vaccinating household contacts we did need to move to larger vaccination centres to ensure that we could take the far greater number of people than was required at our border and MIQ sites.”


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