Port Taranaki marine pilot Mark Charters had no concerns about rolling up his sleeve and receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.
“Having grown up in South Africa, getting vaccinated is just what you do – it’s never been a problem. And this is such a small needle compared to others I’ve had,” he laughs.
As a border worker, Mark was among the first people in New Zealand to get ‘the shot’, as the Ministry of Health and the Taranaki District Health Board began the immunisation programme rollout, which included Port Taranaki staff, other border workers, and their families.
Mark, who has been at Port Taranaki for a year and is in his first role as a marine pilot, says it was an important step in the fight against COVID-19.
“Vaccines aren’t just about protecting yourself, they are about protecting everyone else,” he says.
“So I’m happy to be doing my part.”
Taranaki DHB’s general manager planning, funding and population health, Becky Jenkins, says the response to the immunisation programme has been really positive.
“Border workers are pleased to be getting protection against COVID-19 for themselves, their whānau, other work colleagues and the wider community,” she says.
“Vaccinating high volumes of people requires support and flexibility from employers and port agencies to release staff for their vaccination appointment.
“Our vaccination team must work through specific logistics with each person and this can be difficult without the flexibility of the employers, so we thank them for helping to make the appointments accessible for staff.”