COVID-19: Waikato mayors want 'more coordinated approach' from DHB amid frustration over vaccination drive

Several Waikato mayors have banded together to call for the region's district health board to improve its vaccination drive and consult better with those on the ground.

Locals are increasingly frustrated that the region remains in the strictest version of level 3.

"We need to have a more coordinated approach," Waipa District Mayor Jim Mylchreest says.

"Councils are sitting waiting to help. We've got the local contacts, we can assist the hospital board - we are not being asked to."

He's supported by Ōtorohanga Mayor Max Baxter and Waikato District Mayor Allan Sanson.

"It'd be good if the DHB actually conversed with the local mayors who are the regional leaders, we will work with them - we just need them to reach out to us." 

Waikato's four new cases on Tuesday were in the Te Awamutu/Kihikihi area. That takes the total in this outbreak to 91. 

Among the first cases there, a Kihikihi household of young people in their twenties.

The Ministry of Health on Tuesday released six locations of interest in Tokoroa, after revealing a positive case travelled to Tokoroa, stayed overnight then flew from Rotorua into Blenheim.  

Hamilton Mayor Paula Southgate fears the current vaccination model is not working.

"We have to crank up the dial, we can't afford to slow down or we'll never make that 90 percent target and that is the freedom for summer, isn't it."

Southgate believes Hamilton would embrace a big vaccination event like Auckland's mass Eden Park event planned for early November.

"I'm 110 percent behind our DHB putting on something positive for people to encourage them to get vaccinated."

Waikato District Health Board says the region has one of the highest rates of vaccination in the country with 85 percent of people having received their first Pfizer dose.

Just 68 percent of Waikato residents have had two doses.

The DHB's chief executive Dr Kevin Snee says the majority of the Waikato can't be compared to Auckland.

"It is highly rural, with many people living in remote areas," he says.

"To achieve the final push over 90 percent in the Waikato we will need a targeted approach and it will be important to work with our key partners, particularly iwi, Kaupapa Māori and Pacific providers".

Twenty mobile clinics are also planned in more remote communities.

The call from the region's mayors to be looped in and consulted on what they're calling an "ad hoc" approach, just got louder.