With winter sport now in full swing across Tāmaki Makaurau, the region’s sports organizations have joined forces with health services to ensure their members and supporters are well protected for the cold months ahead.
Over the next three months of winter, the Northern Region Health Coordination Center (NRHCC) and its Māori and Pacific provider partners will be out at sports grounds right across the city offering flu and COVID-19 booster vaccinations to eligible community members.
Auckland Rugby League and Netball Northern Zone are the first to confirm their involvement in the region-wde initiative with events starting at local clubs and netball centers within the next two weeks.
Leading clinicians, including the NRHCC vaccination program clinical director, Dr Anthony Jordan, have expressed concern about the impact of flu on our communities this winter.
“We have very little immunity from new strains of flu which are now coming in through our borders for the first time in two years. We need to be thinking now about how we protect ourselves and our vulnerable whānau members this winter. “
He said working with large organizations, like our winter sports codes, is a great way of getting to large groups in the community at one time.
“We’re hugely grateful for the support from these sports organizations. We know that thousands of people gather at these events every weekend so it’s a great opprotunity to speak to people about winter wellbeing and how best to protect themselves over the colder months. “
The NRHCC is working with dozens of health outreach providers across the city who are being connected with their local rugby league club or netball center to arrange visits from the vaccination campervans at various times throughout the season.
Auckland Rugby League Chief Executive Rebecca Russell says keeping their members and whānau healthy this winter is a number one priority after two years of disruption from the pandemic.
“Sport itself is so critical to encouraging health and wellbeing across our communities and when we consider how hard the last two years have been for many of our members, we now want to support them as much as we can to stay healthy and well.
“We are very much looking forward to working with our local health providers to offer winter wellness support and vaccinations across all of our clubs in Tāmaki,” she said.
Netball Northern Zone CEO, Phil Vyver has also encouraged all of the city’s netball centers to support the iniative.
“We are already hearing of teams being down on numbers, not just from COVID but because of other winter viruses, so we are very happy to support any health iniative which may ensure our clubs and centers can be at full strength this winter.
“It has been a difficult couple of years for all of us but getting back out and playing sport is so vital to improving our general health after this challenging period. If we can keep our members and their whānau healthy this winter, we will all benefit. “
Local clubs and netball centers will let their members know when winter wellness and vaccination events are happening over the winter, so keep an eye out for your club communications.
The eligibility criteria for free flu vaccinations has also changed slightly this year with Māori and Pacific aged 55 and over now eligible, together with everyone 65 and over, pregnant women and those with certain underlying health conditions.
For more information on how to stay well this winter visit winterwellness.nz.
© Scoop Media