Thousands jabbed in Dunedin drive-thru campaign led by iwi

Source: 1News

An iwi-led vaccination drive is helping thousands of Māori and Pasifika get jabbed against Covid-19 under Alert Level 4. 

Dunedin-based Te Kāika healthcare centre, which Ngai Tahu owns, came up with the idea after the country was plunged into lockdown last week. 

Having met with the local DHB, the group were up and running by Friday, operating from the carpark of the Edgar Centre, the city's biggest sports facility. 

Chief Executive Albie Laurence told Breakfast that they wanted to maximise the push to get vaccinated to help reach Māori, Pasifika, and low-income families. 

"It took a bit of Kiwi and iwi-led knowledge to put together a carpark vaccination centre," he said. 

"We came up with this idea... to look at how can we make sure we can reach all our Māori and Pasifika in isolation given that the demand for vaccines had increased by our whanau."

Having been out in rural communities helping to deliver Covid-19 vaccines, the centre shifted its vaccination workforce into assisting locals in getting the jab. 

They've been adding their "own flavour" on the vaccination drive-thru, too, hoping to provide a welcoming whanau-friendly environment. 

And the response has been more than positive, vaccinating over a thousand people in their first day alone, with locals turning out in their truckloads. 

Long lines trail out of the carpark at the Edgar Centre, but the wait times are reduced drastically with its drive-thru capacity. 

"Whanau love it, you sort of wait 15-20 minutes in the queue, then probably a 15 minute wait time after the vaccination," he said. 

"It was really positive, with to date we've nearly done 5000 vaccines in Dunedin." 

Te Kāika has no plans of stopping any time soon either, hoping to continue under Alert Level 3 also. 

The centre's already lined up another location for the drive-thru initiative to continue when the country eventually shifts back to Alert Levels 1 and 2.