Largest Waikato vaccination centre opens at The Base

By Will Trafford

The largest Covid-19 vaccination centre in the Waikato has opened at The Base (Te Awa) retail complex in Te Rapa.

The centre is a partnership between Waikato-Tainui, the Waikato DHB and centre owner Kiwi Property. The site has capacity to vaccinate some 1000 people each day and will run seven days a week.

A whakamanatanga was held at the site this morning, attended by Kiingi Tuuheitia, Waikato-Tainui, local MPs, deputy mayor Geoff Taylor and district health board vaccination staff.

Waikato DHB chief executive Dr Kevin Snee says partnering with organisations across the takiwā means the programme is tailored to the unique needs of the community.

“When Covid-19 first touched our shores last year, we were given a tongikura from Kiingi Tuuheitia that to protect the wellbeing of our people is paramount. This has been woven throughout our entire Covid-19 response and drives our vaccination programme.”

There are about 125,000 people to vaccinate in Waikato during the current Group 3 rollout. That group is made up of people 65 and over, those with underlying health conditions, pregnant women in their third trimester and the disabled.

 Waikato DHB

The Te Awa centre will operate Monday to Saturday 9am to 5pm, and Sunday from 10am to 5pm. While the centre does not support walk-ins the DHB says those eligible are are now receiving invitations to book their vaccination appointments via the national Book My Vaccine system.

The DHB says Te Awa is the first stage in the mass vaccination rollout for the region.

Within Waikato there are now community vaccination centres in Hamilton, Thames, Te Kuiti and Taumarunui. Additional community vaccination centres will be established in Morrinsville, Matamata, Te Awamutu, Cambridge and Tokoroa and will be operational from early August.

Mobile vaccination centres will be travelling to marae, pharmacies and medical centres.

The DHB says when the vaccination programme is at maximum capacity they could deliver between  20,000 to 30,000 vaccinations per week.