Papakura Midwife Correen Haslett has worn multiple hats throughout her career in healthcare. While supporting expectant mothers and their whaanau through the pregnancy journey is her first love, Correen is also a fully qualified vaccinator. When Delta hit our shores, and with it the need to accelerate the vaccine rollout, Correen didn’t hesitate to roll up her sleeves and help out as a vaccinator.
Prior to working at the Papakura Primary Birthing Unit, Correen has worked as a vaccinator in the rural West Coast of the South Island. This is an area where geographical isolation, and vaccine hesitancy are key themes within the community, so she understands these complex issues and how they affect whanau very well. Correen says having someone a family have relationship with and trust can help: ‘often people are just a little hesitant about what’s involved, particularly when they’re pregnant, so being able to talk to someone who knows their history and understands their concerns is a real help”.
On the first day of the initiative, Correen made contact with over 70 women via text or phone calls, talking to them about COVID-19 and the benefits of being vaccinated for expectant mothers. Vaccination clinics are held on Wednesdays, and at the first clinic, 17 people that Correen had made personal contact with came along with their whaanau to get vaccinated at the Papakura Birthing Unit on the first day. In addition, the vaccination clinic has vaccinated women and their families on ward, as well as other people attending maternity clinics.
Correen says: “There is very strong evidence to suggest that the COVID-19 vaccine is safe for the vast majority of pregnant women. Considering getting vaccinated is very important for pregnant women as they are 4 times more likely to experience serious consequences if they contract COVID-19”. Charge Midwife Robynne Hubbard echoes Coreen’s sentiment saying: “All of our team are double vaccinated because we know how important it is. We’re working closely with Papakura Marae to reach more isolated part of our community, so watch this space for more to come”.