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COVID-19 vaccine rollout begins

COVID-19 vaccine rollout begins

Updated: 1pm, Wednesday 31 March 2021


The rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine across the Whanganui, Rangitikei and south Ruapehu districts has begun.


The rollout began on 31 March 2021 with the vaccination team, family members of border and MIQ/MIF workforce living in our district and front-line health workers being vaccinated.


The rollout follows the government’s tiered structure – frontline healthcare workers and critical workforces, aged residential care workers and residents, and at-risk people in the community, those with underlying conditions and those over 65 years.


The governance group, made up of WDHB, Whanganui Regional Health Network, Hauora ā Iwi, the National Hauora Coalition and Māori health service will ensure easy access for all, with an emphasis on the most vulnerable in our community, including Māori and Pacific populations which are most at risk from the virus.


The vaccination of the bulk of the population is expected in the second half of 2021.


The COVID-19 vaccine is free and is being made available for everyone in New Zealand aged 16 years and above.


It has been approved for use after meeting stringent international standards and equally robust New Zealand requirements for quality, safety and effectiness. 


Media release - Preparations under way for rollout of COVID-19 vaccine (23 March 2021)  


COVID-19 vaccines with Dr Nikki Turner - Ask an expert | Ministry of Health NZ

Dr Nikki Turner, Director of the Immunisation Advisory Centre at the University of Auckland, NZ, answers some key questions about COVID-19 vaccines in New Zealand.



More information


Unite Against Covid website

Ministry of Health website


COVID-19 Alert Level 1 - Health and Hospital Services

All of New Zealand is at Alert Level 1, but it is important that we remain alert and continue to follow the health and safety procedures that have served us so well. 


If you are unwell 

 If you’re sick, stay home. Do not go to work or school. Do not socialise. 

  • If you have cold, flu or COVID-19 symptoms, call Healthline on 0800 358 5453 or your doctor to get advice about being tested. 
  • COVID-19 testing is free 
  • If you have been told to self-isolate you legally must do so immediately. 

 COVID-19 symptoms include: 

  • a new or worsening cough 
  • a fever of at least 38°C 
  • shortness of breath 
  • sore throat 
  • sneezing and runny nose  
  • temporary loss of smell
  • muscle aches and fatigue

Keep track of where you’ve been 

You should keep track of where you’ve been and who you’ve seen. This helps with rapid contact tracing if it’s required. 

How to keep track of where you’ve been 

Face coverings

Face masks are now mandatory on all public transport in New Zealand and on all domestic flights. They are also encouraged when out and about in crowds or among strangers.

Hospital services at Alert Level 1 

Primary health services are operating as normal but we encourage everyone in our hospital to maintain high hygiene standards 

such as cough etiquette, washing your hands regularly, and maintaining social distancing when possible.


Visiting Whanganui Hospital at Alert Level 1    


  • Consider your need to visit the hospital if you are unwell with COVID-19 symptoms. Please call Healthline on 0800 358 5453 if you are concerned about COVID-19 symptoms or visit the community based assessment centre (CBAC) on the Whanganui Hospital campus
  • If you need emergency care, should go to Whanganui Emergency Department or Whanganui Accident Emergency on the Whanganui Hospital. We are here for you during all COVID-19 Alert Levels.
  • Wash your hands and use hand sanitiser regularly
  • Keep a record of where you have been using the Ministry of Health COVID-19 Tracer app to scan QR codes at the hospital and keep track of your movements. The more we scan, the safer we will be
  • Sometimes our staff may need to limit visitor numbers. 

Whanganui Hospital visiting hours are from 8am to 8pm, seven days a week.                                                                                                                                              

Please visit Unite Against Covid or the Ministry of Health website for national information about Covid-19. 

Whanganui Hospital visiting hours are from 8am to 8pm, seven days a week.       

Remember: If you are unwell, please stay away and phone Healthline or your GP for advice.


COVID-19 testing: Community based assessment centre (CBAC)                     

The CBAC on the Whanganui Hospital campus, which provides tests for COVID-19, will be open from 8am to 1pm, Monday to Friday.



Testing at the CBAC is only for: 


  • people with COVID-19 symptoms 
  • people who have visited a location of interest
  • people who have been advised to get a test by Healthline. 


Outside these times, please call Healthline on 0800 358 5453 or go to Whanganui Accident and Medical (WAM) which is open 8am to 9pm, seven days a week or call 06 348 1300 for WAM.


The hospital CBAC is a drive-through/walk-up facility. No appointment is needed and there is no charge.


COVID-19 testing: General practices 

General practices (GPs) in Raetihi, Taihape, Bulls and Marton can assess their rural communities – please ring first.                                                           

Protect against measles - get immunised today!

Become a Guardian of the Future by getting immunised against measles. Not only will you be protecting yourself against a disease that’s even more contagious than COVID-19, you’ll also be protecting your whānau, your community, and future generations from harm. 


Measles is a serious disease that can make you very sick. But getting immunised is easy and free.


Protect the people you care about. Immunise to help stop the spread of measles. It’s free at GPs or participating pharmacies.


Not sure if you’re immunised against measles?  It’s okay to get immunised again.


 Where to go for immunisation:

  • GP clinics (ask your practice nurse for a free vaccine).
  • Schools via the free MMR school programme (ask your health nurse).
  • If you’re 16 or older, free immunisation is also available at some pharmacies in Whanganui (visit Unichem, Central City Pharmacy or Countdown Pharmacy).



  • The total number of people with confirmed Covid-19 in the Whanganui Region is nine (9). 
  • All confirmed have now recovered. There have been no cases since April 2020.
  • Please visit Unite Against Covid or the Ministry of Health website for national information about Covid-19.