Jittery over Covid brushes

Pharmacy owners say a few people are potentially putting others at risk

Alison Smith Bookings can be made by calling the Covid Vaccination Healthline on 0800 28 29 26 and from January 17 people with a four-month interval since their second shot can make bookings for boosters online Bookmyvaccine.nz.





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People complaining of Covid-19 symptoms have been walking into pharmacies in the Coromandel’s busy holiday towns. As Covid case was reported in Tairua on Thursday January 6, pharmacists say a small number of people are potentially putting staff and other customers at risk by entering the busy stores seeking advice. They are urging them to stay away and call 0800 358 5453 for Covid-19 health advice. Last week two Covid-19 cases were confirmed — in Tairua and Waih¯ı. Tairua pharmacist Aidan Kortegast said the pharmacy is already under pressure providing booster vaccine shots at their busiest time of year. The four-month boosters cannot be booked online until January 17 which means many people are walking in without appointments. “We had 50 people on Wednesday getting booster shots and 60 yesterday. I don’t think it’s because of the community cases we’re seeing, it’s because people are being proactive.” He said one or two people in the week had entered the pharmacy complaining of Covid19 symptoms and seeking a rapid antigen test. “It’s scary for us because if they are symptomatic and pass it on, we have to close for two weeks and this is our busiest time of year.” Waih¯ı Beach Chemist owner Sara Preston said the pharmacy was too busy to cope if it provided vaccines as well, and urged people to think before entering the store. “We’ve been very frustrated at times . . . One person . . . told me she was on her way to selfisolate at home, so she was out doing her chores. The customer behind her was from Auckland and had just finished being locked up for four months . . . I think people don’t think sometimes.” Staff also still encountered people refusing to wear a mask. The policy was to refuse even if they had a mask exemption, and serve from the door. Whangamata Pharmacy reported an extra busy year this summer, with sunburn and allergies as the biggest issue its customers are facing. It was getting calls from people requesting rapid antigen tests and about a third of them didn’t realise it was only for unvaccinated people.