Covid 19 Delta outbreak: Woman shocked to learn Covid-19 vaccination centre closed

An Auckland woman and her daughter were “gobsmacked” when they learnt the Mt Wellington Covid-19 vaccination centre had closed, despite having a booking.

Three weeks ago, Fiona booked her daughter in to receive her first Covid-19 vaccination by using the Book My Vaccine website.

After the booking was completed, she received a confirmation email, confirming her daughter’s appointment at 4pm September 13.

“It clearly states the date, time and place,” she said.

The 4pm booking meant that Fiona’s daughter could get vaccinated after a day of online school.

When the day arrived for her daughter to get vaccinated, Fiona started work earlier than usual, so she could finish in time to drive her 16-year-old daughter to her appointment.

Once the afternoon rolled around, the pair got ready and drove to the Mt Wellington Covid-19 vaccination centre.

However, once they arrived at the centre, the pair were shocked the learn the site closed at 3.30pm, meaning Fiona’s daughter couldn’t get vaccinated.

“We indicate to go into where you park at Mt Wellington and this woman is standing there with her arms in a cross saying ‘don’t come in’.

“I slightly wound down my window and said ‘oh we have an appointment’ and she said ‘nope we’re closed’,” Fiona said.

She then turned around and took out her phone to check the confirmation email she received on the day she booked.

When Fiona realised she was at the correct place at the correct time, she decided to walk up to the staff to explain she had a booking.

“I went back and she was just turning away car after car and people on foot, everyone’s holding their phone out to show they had appointment’s at 4 o’clock.

A Northern Region Health Co-ordination Centre (NRHCC) spokesperson has since apologised to anyone who had been affected by the mix-up.

In an apology sent to Fiona, it stated “staffing changes” meant the centre had to close earlier than usual.

“Last week we had staffing changes which meant we had to alter our opening hours now closing at 3pm each day rather than 8pm.”

Fiona said she was “furious” and felt like she being punished for following the rules.

“I didn’t just walk up somewhere, I followed what they said to do, I felt like I was being a rule follower and I almost felt like I was being punished for it,” she said.

While at the Mt Wellington centre, Fiona noticed “several” cars and a number of people on foot being turned away, all before 4pm. With several people holding out phones also explaining they had 4pm bookings.

A NRHCC spokesperson told Fiona attempts to contact her were made over the weekend, however a contact number for her wasn’t on the list.

The spokesperson also said the automated reminder texts were sent out that day because it was not “turned off”.

“We are reaching out to anyone we think may have missed their vaccination that day to offer them another appointment, or to walk in at one of our other centres,” a spokesperson said.

For more on the safety of the Covid-19 vaccine and other things you need to know, listen to our podcast Science Digest with Michelle Dickinson

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