Scramble in Dunedin for vaccine passes

A desperate scramble for vaccine passes before the Orange setting begins today has resulted in pharmacies and libraries across Dunedin being inundated this week.

The Ministry of Health released a statement last week recommending those who needed assistance visit pharmacies and libraries to receive their pass.

Antidote Gardens pharmacist Brendan Fung said staff had been inundated with requests from people of all ages for assistance with accessing, printing and loading passes on to their phones.

Those who had visited Dunedin pharmacies had reported difficulties accessing and using the My Covid Record website, Mr Fung said.

Because the pharmacy provided vaccinations, staff had access to the Covid register and could request vaccination certificates directly from the system.

"Some people might not have access to the internet, or they might not be familiar with it, or they might be kids under 16 years of age who don’t have valid forms of ID like a driver’s licence or passport.

"We can request it from their case file, then it gets sent to our email for us to print off physically or forward on."

Mr Fung said he had not noticed a spike in vaccination numbers following Monday’s announcement.

Roslyn Pharmacy owner Andrew Hou, said the days following the announcement had been "truly insane".

The Dunedin pharmacy had encountered lines "out the door" of people waiting to get their vaccine passes.

"I really feel for the older people who had spent hours on computers — if they even have computers — then they spend hours on the phone, then they might not have a valid passport or a valid licence to finalise it.

"People who do get through on the phone are told the pass is in the post, but that it might take 10 days or two weeks."

The speed of the announcement, the delay in getting the pass through the proper channels and then the "late rush to get it through pharmacies" had likely been the cause of the bottleneck, he said.

Dunedin City Council library services manager Bernie Hawke said staff at Dunedin Public Libraries service locations had also been helping members of the community access and download their vaccine passes.

Demand for assistance had increased in recent days, he said.

That assistance would continue until the requirement for a vaccine pass to enter Dunedin public libraries came into effect on Monday.