Bus a mobile vaccination station

Having trouble getting on the Covid vaccination bandwagon?

Well, now you can catch a bus.

Te Kaika is sending a bright blue bus out to various Dunedin and Mosgiel suburbs, filled with Covid vaccines and vaccinators, in a bid to provide greater access to the jab.

The bus was provided by Ritchies and was unveiled yesterday morning, before making its first stop in Brockville yesterday afternoon.

Te Kaika chief executive Albie Laurence (right) with dignitaries (from left) Dora Nafatali, Terry...
Te Kaika chief executive Albie Laurence (right) with dignitaries (from left) Dora Nafatali, Terry McLaren, Matt Matahaere, Kate Lewis, Peter Ellison and Raewyn Nafatali during the unveiling of the new Dunedin mobile vaccination station yesterday. PHOTO: PETER MCINTOSH
Its next stop will be the Dunedin Farmers’ Market this morning.

Te Kaika chief executive Albie Laurence said unlike most buses in the city, this one was hard to miss.

‘‘It’s highly visible.

‘‘A lot of the whanau, especially lower income earners, struggle to come in for the jab because they’re busy working.

‘‘This will give us a good opportunity to get out there into suburbs like Brockville, Calton Hill, Pine Hill and even some of the Mosgiel suburbs that have a lower socio-economic background.’’

Mr Laurence said he wanted at least 90% of the Dunedin population vaccinated, and the ‘‘jab on wheels’’ would help achieve those kinds of numbers.

It was among the many pragmatic, locally minded ways Te Kaika had gone about trying to drive better health outcomes for the community.

Ritchies Dunedin depot manager Mel Arachchige said very little was done to the inside of the bus to make it ready for the job.

‘‘Inside, there is enough space to keep all the equipment. We only had to remove one seat inside to accommodate it.

‘‘It was also properly cleaned and disinfected, and we’ll

keep doing that at the end of each day.’’

When the job was finished, the seat would be reunited with the bus and it would return to transport duties.

She would not say how much it was costing the company to take the bus out of circulation.

‘‘It doesn’t matter what it costs. It’s helping to save lives and we’re really happy to be a part of this project.’’

Mr Laurence said the mobile clinic would roam the city for at least a month, and if it proved successful, it could continue until December.

Further schedule details would be released soon, he said.

john.lewis@odt.co.nz

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