Coronavirus: Northland health professionals facing 'unhelpful' vaccine misinformation battle

Health professionals in Northland say they're facing an uphill battle with misinformation online as they attempt to get COVID-19 vaccination rates up in the region.

Northland has one of the lowest rates of vaccination in New Zealand, with 62 percent of its eligible population having received two doses.

There are five cases of COVID-19 in the region - all of which are linked - and there's a growing list of locations of interest too.

Moana Tane, from the Northland District Health Board, says it's prompted more people to come forward to get their vaccine.

She says vaccines will keep people out of ICUs, but misinformation online is getting in the way.

"Facebook is not the source of information. It can be, but it can also be the source of unhelpful rumours, scaremongering," she says.

"As someone working in health for many years, I've never seen just nonsense coming forward and people presenting it as fact."

Vaccinators in Northland say people there are doing it tough.

"Things are changing, lockdown, people worried about business, the farming community is worried about calving and things like that, having your children at home - all those things are playing a part," nurse Fran Glamuzina says.

They see alleviating some of that pressure as part of their job.

"We have little rooms at the top there. We talk about the vaccine, about the mRNA, they can go away and think about it and then come back when they're ready," Glamuzina says.

The registered nurses at the local vaccination centre in Dargaville are creating a calm space to help alleviate the mounting anxiety when people are getting vaccinated.

"We've had a lot of people who've burst into tears because they thought they were going to die from the vaccine, which is so incorrect," Glamuzina says.

She adds there's also been a lot of people visiting their centre who've come in for their first vaccine.