Super Saturday
Jazmin Thompson receiving the vaccination from pharmacist Jackie Hamilton on Super Saturday. Photo Supplied

There were staff dressed as fairies, live music, a sausage sizzle, Ricky K from MoreFM and a queue of people in festive mood outside the Cromwell Pharmacy for a “Super Saturday” Clinic in the Cromwell Mall last Saturday.

Pharmacy owner Jackie Hamilton was the vaccination fairy, and she arranged other treats, too, for the day – prize draws for a Cessna flight and a helicopter flight, home baking supplied by community volunteers, and the sausage sizzle run by the Karate Club.

As well, DJ Ricky handed out spot prizes from Bike It Now, Subway, Highlands, Paper Plus, Benjer Drinks and Paintball Central.

Our region is divided into two areas, Cromwell East and Cromwell West, and (without “Super Saturday” updates) Cromwell West is leading the Central Otago region, with 86.3% having had their first dose, and Cromwell East on 84.7%.

Second doses put Cromwell West at 61.3% and Cromwell East at 61.9%.

Jackie was very pleased with “Super Saturday”, and the 231 doses they administered, saying,

“My staff were absolutely amazing.

It was a team effort in every sense.”

Every local Medical Centre is working hard to deliver the vaccine, with specific times during the week dedicated to the cause.

They also run Saturday clinics for shift workers, and for students on school holidays.

Cromwell Medical Centre has offered two weekly clinics, along with the occasional Saturday session, since June 2 and vaccinated between 80 and 200 people per session.

The pharmacy has kept to weekend sessions, to be more accessible to people.

Some, like Cromwell Family Practice, have made special arrangements for staff groups.

Unlike other vaccines like the flu, it is difficult to take the service off-site, because of the computer requirements, the observation areas, emergency equipment and special requirements of reconstituting the vaccine.

All centres report a pragmatic attitude amongst locals.

Some younger people have been apprehensive of the needle rather than the vaccine content.

Angela Ryley, of Junction Health, says, “All our staff have supported the clinics and we have had no problem sourcing vaccine. For the most part, people have been positive about vaccination.

Some are hesitant and need questions answered.”

Most clinics hand out lollies, which help lighten the mood and keep people’s blood sugars up.

Jackie says, “We’ve found it has been extremely rewarding to be involved in something that is a nationwide campaign.

It’s important to us to create an environment for vaccination which has some friendly faces, caring staff, and a warm, encouraging place where people feel comfortable.”

She’s conscripted her daughter Georgia in during the holidays and has even on occasion called upon her mother Pip to chat to nervous people – some have been ‘tickled pink’ to be attended by three generations of family.

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