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More than 100 people showed up at the Epsom Vaccination Centre in Auckland this morning, only to find out the clinic was shut.
Mariette Dodd was one of them and arrived early for her appointment, which was scheduled at 8am.
A sign outside the clinic said it was closed, but she thought that was just because she had arrived before it opened for the day.
“Then I saw a massive queue of vehicles and right at the very front there was a group of pedestrians waiting,” she told the Herald.
Dodd estimated there were about 100 people.
She asked those waiting on foot whether any of them had received any communication to say their appointments had been cancelled. They all checked, but hadn’t, Dodd said.
A Northern Region Health Coordination Centre spokesperson said the Epsom Vaccination Centre has been closed since the country moved to alert level 4.
“Unfortunately, on this occasion the text and email alerts which were due to be sent, were not distributed as early as planned.”
Dodd said one of those waiting this morning was an elderly woman who had to make special arrangements to get to the clinic because she didn’t have a car and lived alone.
“It was a hell of a rigmarole for her to physically get there with public transport,” Dodd said.
“This isn’t about my frustration this morning,” she said.
“I am in a privileged situation to have a car and I’m healthy enough. My concern is for the people who are less privileged than I am, who also had appointments today, who had their whole lives turned upside down this morning in the hope of getting the vaccine and doing the right thing.”
Another woman, who didn’t want to be named, arrived at the clinic for her appointment at 10.30am with her two children under the age of 2 in-tow.
“It was extremely frustrating because I was like what the heck? There’s been no communication with us to say that their centre is closed and we have got prepared and ready to head outdoors with kids, so it’s not easy.
“This isn’t on, if you’ve got elderly people that are booking their appointments or have booked maybe via phone, and then they’ll turn up and it says it’s closed. It’s not right.”
After the Herald made inquiries with health authorities about the woman’s case earlier today, she received a text message saying her appointment had been moved to a new drive-through centre due to reduced capacity under alert level 4.
The woman was asked to go to the Park and Ride site at Auckland airport tomorrow as close to her original appointment time as possible.
The Northern Region Health Coordination Centre spokesperson apologised for the inconvenience.
“We are working at pace to get new communications out as soon as possible to ensure that those impacted have clarity as to when and where they can now get their vaccinations.”
The Highbrook Vaccination Centre is the only other site which has remained closed over the same period.
Appointments for these sites have been deferred, or where there is capacity, have been moved to new drive-through vaccination centres, the spokesperson said.
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