An apple a day keeps the doctor away

Address:

30/26-30 Constable Road, Waiuku

COVID-19 – Covid vaccination for children aged 5 to 11 years – 16 Jan 2022

From  tomorrow (Monday 17th January 2022) Waiuku Health Centre will be offering Covid vaccination for children aged 5 to 11 years at our child-friendly, very organised clinic.   Booking is now available by emailing covidvax@waiukumedical.co.nz 

Covid vaccination is the most effective way to protect your loved ones from becoming unwell with Covid-19, and particularly from developing a severe form of the illness.   The relatively low number of Covid cases in the community is due to the high level of vaccination in New Zealand.   We have achieved over 92% full vaccination for those aged 12 and over, and now it is time for your children aged 5 to 11 to be vaccinated. 

The vaccine on offer is the Pfizer paediatric vaccine which is also being used overseas in the USA and Australia, amongst other countries.   The dosage in this vaccine is different to the Pfizer vaccine dose for those aged 12 years and older, with this one having a lower dose and smaller volume, yet remains highly effective for children aged 5 to 11.  Clinical trial results show that the Pfizer paediatric vaccine was 90.7% effective against getting Covid-19 symptoms, and no participants developed severe Covid-19, ie.100% effective for preventing severe Covid-19.   

Children need a 2-dose series of the Pfizer paediatric vaccine, 8 weeks apart, to complete the primary vaccination course against Covid-19. 

The Pfizer vaccines are very safe.  The side effects of the Pfizer paediatric vaccine for children are similar to the adult Pfizer vaccines but generally are milder.   Our vaccinators will discuss with you in more detail during the consent process at the time of the vaccination. 

For more information please click the link:  https://www.health.govt.nz/our-work/diseases-and-conditions/covid-19-novel-coronavirus/covid-19-vaccines/covid-19-vaccine-health-advice/covid-19-vaccine-and-children-information-parents-and-caregivers

There is also an excellent article about the vaccination here:  https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/459515/covid-19-vaccination-for-children-what-you-need-to-know

Additionally, information about how the vaccine works is here:  https://www.health.govt.nz/our-work/diseases-and-conditions/covid-19-novel-coronavirus/covid-19-vaccines/covid-19-how-vaccine-works

Let’s get vaccinated to keep our whānau and tamariki safe. 

COVID-19 – Vaccination update 29th November 2021

We have reached the 20,000 vaccinations which we aimed for!  Thank you to everyone who has rolled their sleeve up or helped us with achieving this goal.

Although we have realised that milestone, we have not been able to reach everyone. Each DHB is attempting to achieve a 90% threshold of second-dose vaccination, and while our DHB (Counties Manukau) has reached that on average for first doses, there is still a way to go for second doses.

Additionally – and more importantly for us here in Waiuku – if you check by suburb/area there are actually some that lag behind the 90% first dose.  There is one of these in the Waiuku area: the Awhitu peninsula has not yet met the 90% first-dose mark, needing around 230 people more to have their first dose to meet that target.

You can zoom in to check out Waiuku’s zones on the interactive map here.  You’ll need to peer very closely to see some of the road names in order to work out the boundaries.   It is updated each Wednesday https://covid19map.co.nz/vaccination-rates/suburb/

In the last few weeks, we have seen that the number of positive cases has increased significantly, especially in the greater Auckland area. Also, Waiuku has not been free of Covid cases. Now is the time to be thinking not only about vaccination, but also about the future of how Covid 19 may continue to be present and how we will manage it.

Booster dose update

From today, Monday 29 November, booster doses will be available for eligible people – those who had their second dose more than 6 months ago.  Although everyone aged 18+ is eligible and can have a booster dose, we will begin with those who had their 2nd dose more than 6 months ago (earlier than June).  To book for your booster dose, please email covidvax@waiukumedical.co.nz or telephone reception on 09 235 9102 after 11 am. As we will still be administering the first and second doses to other people, please make certain to say you are wanting an appointment for a booster.

Having a booster dose will bring your protection against severe disease up again to 95% and carries no more risk of side effects than your previous doses.

Covid in the community.

The safe practices we learnt last year continue to be very important in slowing the spread of Covid 19 in our community.  You are all great at these already: masks, distancing, staying at home when ill etc.

Now we will need to learn to safely manage Covid in our community, through good family education, close monitoring of cases and symptoms, and recognising when people need extra support.

Until now public health staff have been taking care of the patients in the community, and they have so far done a very good job. However, there will be a moment that there are just too many patients that need to be taken care of. That’s when the local medical centres step in.   As such, a plan is being developed for General Practice to be part of caring for Covid patients in the community. We will update you as soon as that plan has been formalised.

Over the past few weeks, the doctors at Waiuku Health Centre have been educated on how to take care of Covid patients at home in the community setting.

There is one very CRUCIAL point to make clear:  We will not always be informed of a positive case in Waiuku, even if you are one of our patients – especially if you had your Covid test taken elsewhere.

Therefore, it is ESSENTIAL that you let Waiuku Health Centre know that you have tested positive. It is very important for us to know so we that can give you the best possible care: Covid or non-Covid related.

  • For Waiuku people who are registered with a doctor elsewhere, please contact your own doctor about your positive test result if you should get one.
  • For people who are not registered with any doctor but live in this area, please contact us of your test result and we will make sure you will be cared for. (As an additional note, please be aware that registering with a GP practice is free of cost).

Thank you for reading through this long post! Please keep well and keep up the good work.

Kia kaha, lovely people of Waiuku.

COVID-19 – Positive case in Waiuku community

We need to inform the Waiuku community that we have had the first positive swab test through Waiuku Health Centre.

The swab was performed on Saturday morning (23 October) in the testing area out the back of the medical centre, while the patient remained in their vehicle.  The patient did not enter the building, and all staff were in PPE – masked, gloved etc.   I am sure you will join us in wishing the best outcome for the patient and their family.   ❤

⚠️  We realise that many people will be anxious about what might happen next, and many people may need a swab as well.  The best way to organise one at present is to EMAIL the medical centre on covidvax@waiukumedical.co.nz as the phones will undoubtedly be super busy.  If you leave your details – including phone number – staff will contact you to organise a test. To avoid everyone arriving at the same time and causing long queues, it is important that you try to book an appointment for swabbing.   We have increased our swabbing capacity.

⚠️  Meanwhile, PLEASE remember to be masked and social distance whenever possible when out and about, scan or sign in at businesses, and use hand sanitiser.  😷

⚠️  If you have any symptoms, stay at home and organise to be tested.  Once you’ve been tested, make sure to remain at home until you have received a negative result and met other conditions to end quarantine.

⚠️  Also, be certain to keep an eye out for locations of interest on the government site here.  Remember, they continue to be updated:  https://www.health.govt.nz/our-work/diseases-and-conditions/covid-19-novel-coronavirus/covid-19-health-advice-public/contact-tracing-covid-19/covid-19-contact-tracing-locations-interest

⚠️  We have appointments available for vaccinations.  You can book these through the same email address as above:  covidvax@waiukumedical.co.nz

❤ Stay well, Waiuku.   Be cautious, be kind and be considerate – not just for others, but also for yourself. ❤

COVID-19 – Open letter from Dr Lecias

An Open Letter to New Zealanders:

I want to share my family’s experience with Covid in the Philippines.  By sharing my story, I hope those of you who have second thoughts, doubts or hesitations about getting the vaccine may think about getting the jab sooner rather than later.

Since the pandemic started, part of my work as a General Practitioner (GP) in the frontline was treating and swabbing patients with respiratory or viral illnesses in the “red zone” of Waiuku Health Centre.   Every time I put on my PPE, I would wish there was something in the medicine cabinet that I could take to protect me, my family, my healthcare team, and my friends from getting Covid.

The vaccine became available for us, frontliners, in March of this year. I also experienced the hesitancy of getting the vaccine. Initially, I had the same questions you may also have in your mind right now. Will I have bad side effects? Will I die? What will be the effects of the vaccine in the long term? However, I also wondered: If the vaccine is there to help us protect ourselves – why wouldn’t I take it?  So, after weighing up the benefits vs. risks and considering the available evidence, I then decided to get vaccinated.

Since then, I have been watching the numbers in other countries, to find out how much vaccination can protect us. Although data from other countries showed the trend that vaccination protects people from developing severe Covid, the numbers may not necessarily mean anything at a personal level. Knowing the numbers does not necessarily motivate some of us to get vaccinated urgently. Until Covid hits home, only then you start to see for yourself who survives and who doesn’t. This is why I would like to share my family’s experience with you.

Recently my family (father, mother, and two nephews who live with them) have contracted Covid. My father, 75 yo, has medical comorbidities, including hypertension and atrial fibrillation. He developed a cough, fever, and shortness of breath. My sister brought him to a public hospital where he waited overnight for his Covid test results in a holding area in a tent outside the hospital building. The next day, 31- August, we were fortunate to find a private hospital for him. My father needed oxygen supplementation. He improved and was discharged 14 days later.

Two days after my father was admitted to the hospital, my mother, who was symptomatic and tested positive for Covid, was also put on a waiting list. We had to purchase a pulse oximeter and oxygen tank to support her breathing at home as her Oxygen saturation (O2sat) was dropping. When space became available, she was finally admitted to the hospital with her O2sat already at around 84%. My mother was 74 yo, and was taking oral medications for hypertension and diabetes. She received all the treatment for Covid, similar to what would be given here in NZ for moderate-severe Covid.  Despite the available treatment, she continued to deteriorate over the next few days requiring intubation and ICU admission. She eventually passed away on 14 September.

My nephews:  27 yo with scoliosis and mental health condition, and 23 yo with history of asthma, were both unvaccinated. The local government advised them to quarantine at home with the rest of the family.  They were managed at home by their mother, my sister, who had a first dose of the Sinovac vaccine. They both needed oxygen supplementation at home as their O2sat also fell below 95%, with one of them going as low as 89%.

The remaining four members in the household developed mild symptoms (presumed to be Covid): two of them (17 yo/male and 24 yo/male) were unvaccinated. The other two (41 yo/male and 20yo/female) were vaccinated with a first dose of Sinovac.

What were the outcomes after two weeks? My father, who had a dose of the vaccine, survived moderate covid. My vaccinated sister remained asymptomatic. My vaccinated niece and 41yo extended family member also recovered from mild covid. While the four unvaccinated family members recovered, two needed home oxygen supplementation.

Unfortunately, in the case of my mother, Covid caught up with her before she could get her vaccination and she didn’t survive.  My mother was vaccine-hesitant in the beginning because she feared that she would get adverse effects. When she finally decided to go for her vaccination, it did not happen because the centre ran out of vaccines. Sadly, she contracted Covid before her next appointment.

After we lost our mother, a couple of questions that continue to play in my mind are: Had she been vaccinated, would it have given her a fighting chance to survive? Would it be a different scenario if she was here in New Zealand? Not only do we have vaccines available now; we also have the luxury of time to get vaccinated while our Covid cases are still low.

An Auntie, 68yo, has Myasthenia Gravis but had a dose of Moderna vaccine. She nursed both my sick parents at the hospital but didn’t get Covid. Another Auntie, 63yo who has diabetes and who had completed Sinovac also didn’t get Covid after meeting with a symptomatic, unvaccinated dear friend whose husband unfortunately also died from Covid.

I know of friends here in Auckland whose family members in the Philippines were also recently affected by Covid.  A friend’s mum who is 72 yo with Rheumatoid Arthritis, completed two doses of Astra Zeneca, is now recovering from Covid.  On the other hand, another friend’s father, 83 yo passed away from Covid on 04 Oct. He was unvaccinated.

Now I don’t need to look far away to see what’s happening in other countries. Unfortunately, in my family’s and friends’ cases, the unvaccinated vulnerable family members were the ones we’ve lost.  Our family members who had at least one dose, regardless of the vaccine, were protected or had better outcomes after contracting Covid.

Unknown to many of you, while NZ was in lockdown since mid-August, some of our Filipino community members here in NZ have been mourning the loss of loved ones back in the Philippines due to Covid.  It is hard and painful, and I wouldn’t wish this to happen to you and your families here in NZ.

Give yourselves and your whanau a fighting chance. Vaccines are within our reach.  Give our healthcare system a fighting chance to deal with Covid by getting as many eligible family members vaccinated.

I am writing this in honor of my beloved mother, the late Lilia Gamboa.

Dr. Lira Lecias

GP, Waiuku Health Centre, Auckland

Covid-19 – News 27th August 2021

With more community cases being announced in Auckland, the government have made the expected decision of us remaining in Level 4 until at least Tuesday, and most likely for another two weeks.

We know this is very stressful for many people but hopefully with community support we can keep safe and healthy.  If you are struggling for food, please contact Waiuku Family Support.  St John’s Waiuku may also be able to assist.  If anyone has other suggestions, please would you link to them in the comments?

For the medical centre, as usual, to support us in keeping both staff and the community safe, please DO NOT turn up at the medical centre to make an appointment or pick up forms, or without contacting us beforehand.  You can telephone reception on 09 235 9102 or email reception@waiukumedical.co.nz.

If you have a booked appointment within the next week at the Medical Centre, you can expect to have a phone appointment at the booked time.

If you feel you really need to be seen face-to-face, please telephone in advance on 09 235 9102. You will be put through to a nurse who will assess your safety to come in.   If you have NO COVID symptoms (respiratory, cold or flu symptoms) the nurse may determine that you can come to the Medical Centre where you will be triaged at the front door.

PLEASE: anyone who comes to the medical centre MUST wear a mask if at all possible.  This is for vaccinations, covid testing and in-person appointments etc.

Vaccinations are going well in the tent area next to the medical centre.  If you would like to book a Covid vaccination (for registered or non-registered patients), you can do this by:

  1. emailing covidvax@waiukumedical.co.nz, or ring 09 235 9102 (after 1 pm) and request to be contacted to make a booking.  We check this e-mail regularly, and we will contact you
  2. Book my vaccine https://bookmyvaccine.covid19.health.nz/ (Use Waiuku as your location). If you have trouble booking through the link above, you can call 0800 282 926

PLEASE – use the scanning app or sign in everywhere to make it easier for Covid tracers. If you don’t have the app be sure to sign in on handwritten forms. Remember, the Delta variant is twice as transmissible as the variant we were dealing with previously, so we all need to stay home if possible, wash our hands frequently, wear a mask and social distance.

By the way, the photo is of the entrance to the vaccination area.  Taken yesterday when it was vaguely sunny!  We know people are allowed to exercise during Level 4, but whomever it is with “Rain Dancing” as part of their personal exercise programme, would you mind stopping?

Thank you all for your community spirit and understanding.  We really appreciate it!

Covid-19 – News 13th August 2021

As of today, we have done 7900 Vaccinations! We are happy that residents of West Franklin are able to access vaccination in their community. This will help a lot once the borders are open. It simply protects you, your whanau, and the wider community from being infected or getting seriously ill or death from Covid-19.
Although there is a high uptake of vaccination, there are still many people hesitant to have the vaccine.  We would encourage anyone who has doubts to talk to one of our staff or their doctors or send an e-mail with the questions for more information.  The Pfizer vaccine is very effective at preventing Covid-19 infection, and even more effective at preventing serious covid related illness, ICU admission or death.  Most important of all, it is safe!

Then the new rollout scheme as per Friday the 13th of August, although the government has set the rollout per age brackets, if you are 16 to 49 years of age and need vaccination, please contact us.  In many cases we have enough slots to book you for vaccination. Registered or non-registered patients are welcome.

Important to know is that there is now a gap of at least 6 weeks between the first and the second vaccinations. The reason behind this is to ensure most New Zealanders are at least partly vaccinated.  You can still request to have the second vaccination early (3-6 weeks) in some circumstances.

How to book? For registered or non-registered patients
1 Book my vaccine https://bookmyvaccine.covid19.health.nz/ (Use Waiuku as your location)
2 If you have trouble booking through the link above, you can approach our practice for assistance (after 1 pm) and the receptionist will help you further, or you can also call 0800-282926
3 You can e-mail us at covidvax@waiukumedical.co.nz, and request to be contacted to make a booking (irrespective of whether you are a registered patient or not). We check this e-mail regularly, and we will contact you.

Covid-19 – News 23rd July 2021

We began Covid19 vaccination on the 25th of May and to date we have given over 5500 vaccinations. We are very proud of our team for ensuring a smooth, well organised operation. The whole team is led by our nurses, and they are doing an amazing job. We are also very grateful to our team of volunteers who with great community spirit are assisting with the running of the programme.

As from the 28th of July, people eligible for a covid vaccination, belonging to group 4, can make an appointment. The first band is people aged 60 years and over. The next band is people aged 55 years and over and bookings for this band will open on the 11th of August.

The Waiuku Health Centre will give in first instance priority to the 55+ group, and everyone who is vulnerable e.g., has an underlying health condition or living with a vulnerable family member. If you’re not sure just send a request via e-mail to covidvax@waiukumedical.co.nz

Depending on vaccine supply and progress with other age groups, invitations will open up to people over 45 years from September, October for people 35 plus, with everyone else being eligible after October.
We would like to emphasise to everyone with an underlying health condition, not to wait until their age band is invited; you can make a booking any time from now on.

How to book?

  1. The National Booking System ( NBS) will have us on the list from 28/7 onwards, you will be invited by age band
  2. If you have trouble booking trough that system you can call the practice for assistance (after 1pm) and the receptionist will help you further, otherwise you can also call 0800-282926
  3. You can e-mail us on covidvax@waiukumedical.co.nz and request to be contacted to make a booking (irrespective whether you are a registered patient or not). This email is checked daily and we will contact you.

Covid-19 – News 4th June 2021

We have now been vaccinating for two weeks and so far, our roll out process is going well.

Currently we are at 90 vaccinations a day and from the 16th of June we will extend to hopefully vaccinate 120 per day.

The good news is that because it is going so well, we will have the capacity to loosen some criteria for people to get vaccinated.

We have made the following adjustments:

The roll out process so far has not caused great disruption or waiting times. We want to thank all patients waiting for vaccination for their patience.

Covid-19 – Vaccination Update

We are proud to be able to announce that from the 26th of May 2021 we will be starting to give Covid-19 vaccinations. After 8 weeks of preparation, we will roll out the programme according to the Ministry of Health guidelines with slight adjustments due to our rural location and vaccination capacity.  

As you are aware we will be a small site compared to the big vaccination centres in Auckland, so we have made the following adjustments:

  1. We will start with patients aged over 75 years and over 55 years of age for Maori and Pacific patients.
  2. Covid vaccine recipients will initially be invited from our patient data base. If you are not our registered patient, please send your vaccination request by email to covidvax@waiukumedical.co.nz with your name, contact details and age.
  3. We will not be able to accept any walk-ins.

We have made this choice as the national booking system is not yet available, and we are working hard to ensure you have a smooth vaccination experience at our site. 

We hope, in a few weeks, to be able to increase our capacity to vaccinate 120 people a day for 6 days a week. We ask for your patience, as we face the challenges with this unprecedented programme.

We are lucky that currently we do not have community Covid cases and while needing to remain vigilant, we are confident that we can responsibly roll out the programme in an orderly fashion to those eligible.

We are grateful for your patience over the past year. Please check in to this site   as we will be posting regular updates.

The Covid Team of WHC.

Cold and Flu season

With cold and flu season upon us it is worth remembering that unfortunately no amount of antibiotics will get rid of your cold or flu.

Taking unnecessary antibiotics contributes to antibiotic resistance which is now a big problem world-wide. Hospital doctors are facing patients with “super bugs” which are very difficult to treat.

There is some very good information on the Ministry of Health’s website about how antibiotics work and how antibiotic resistance develops: Please see here: https://www.health.govt.nz/…/medicati…/antibiotic-resistance