Extra hands on board for vaccine rollout


Ready, willing and able – 20 new recruits to the Whanganui vaccine campaign.

11 May 2021  


The rollout out of the COVID-19 vaccine in the Whanganui region is well under way, with border workers, frontline health staff, rest home, police, fire and prison personnel among those who have had the jab.


And a key factor in the progress so far has been the recruitment of more than 50 extra staff to work on the biggest vaccination programme undertaken in Whanganui – and, indeed, in New Zealand.


Some of the newcomers bring years of experience; others have never worked in the health system before – but they all have a vital role to play in a campaign that aims to put two doses in the arms of almost 55,000 people by the end of 2021.


All the new recruits go through an intensive training programme, whether they are going to be vaccinators, support staff or administration workers handling bookings and documentation.


Among a recent group of arrivals at Whanganui Hospital was Feilding-based Mary Gilbert, a registered nurse for 46 years, having seen service in England and, latterly as a district nurse in Taranaki.


At the other end of the scale was Brazilian Daniela Reis, who has been in Whanganui for just three years and, having had experience in customer service, was looking for a job in administration.


“We are delighted with the response as we look to build up our COVID vaccination workforce,” says Louise Allsopp, who leads the Whanganui vaccine rollout group.


“All these new recruits – whether they be newcomers or former colleagues -- are most welcome, and they will play an important part in the biggest public health project we have ever had.”


Allsopp adds that more vaccinators will come on board as the campaign ramps up.


So far the Whanganui team has delivered just on 4000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine, and they are currently working through the Group 2 population.


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