Highbrook Covid vaccination centre reopens

The Covid-19 vaccination centre in Highbrook, east Auckland, reopened on September 16. Times file photo Wayne Martin

The Covid-19 vaccination centre in Highbrook has reopened after being closed for a month while its staff were redeployed.

Numerous people have expressed confusion and frustration about the site’s operation on local community Facebook pages since mid-August.

Some people wrote they were not notified their bookings needed to be rescheduled and others said they turned up to be vaccinated only to find it was closed.

The Times is aware of a situation involving a resident who received their first dose of the Covid vaccine at Highbrook on July 24.

They made a booking to get the second vaccine dose on September 4, but received no direct communication from the Ministry of Health to say the booking wouldn’t go ahead due to the Highbrook centre being closed.

The resident eventually made a new booking for September 17, which went ahead as scheduled.

A spokesperson for the Northern Region Health Co-ordination Centre (NRHCC) says the Highbrook site closed on August 17 when New Zealand again moved to a Covid alert level four lockdown.

Its staff were “urgently redeployed” to work across Covid testing, contact tracing and at other vaccination centres.

“People who had booked to get their vaccine at Highbrook were offered the opportunity to attend the Auckland Airport park-and-ride drive-through [vaccination] centre or re-book their appointment at another centre,” the spokesperson says.

“The Highbrook vaccination centre reopened on September 16.

“People who had made bookings for September 13 to September 15 have been contacted by phone and text to reschedule their appointments to later that week.

“We have lots of appointments available at Highbrook and centres across the city this week and next so we are encouraging everyone aged 12 years and over to book in now by visiting www.bookmyvaccine.nz or calling 0800 28 29 26.”

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern recently announced the Government had bought 500,000 doses of Pfizer Covid-19 vaccines from Denmark to be used as part of this country’s vaccination programme.

They’re added to the 275,000 vaccine doses the Government bought from Spain the previous week.

“There is now more than enough vaccine in the country to vaccinate at the world-leading rates we were hitting earlier in the month and I strongly encourage every New Zealander not yet vaccinated to do so as soon as possible,” Ardern said.

“This extra supply means we can continue to roll out vaccines well ahead of plan, so everyone in New Zealand over the age of 12 can be vaccinated as soon as possible for free.”

The National Party has repeatedly criticised the speed of the Government’s rollout of the Covid-19 vaccine.

National Covid-19 response spokesman Chris Bishop said last month: “The simple reality is that while things are only slowly ramping up now, New Zealand has the slowest vaccine rollout in the developed world, and the Government’s negligent execution of the rollout has left New Zealand a sitting duck for the Delta variant.”