Shot Bro: Vaccine buses hit the road to boost jab rates

Phil Goff and Willie Jackson at the Covid bus launch. Photo / RNZ
Phil Goff and Willie Jackson at the Covid bus launch. Photo / RNZ
Covid buses will start operating from this morning to boost vaccinations in harder-to-reach parts of the Auckland community.

Experts warn the only way for New Zealand to avoid lockdowns is to have at least 90 per cent of the eligible population vaccinated.

The buses are being unveiled at Auckland Airport Park & Ride facility. The converted black and orange Park & Ride buses have vaccinate signs posted on their sides. One reads "Roll up your sleeves, Auckland". Another sign says "Vaccinate for Auckland".

Labour MP Willie Jackson said the answer to boosting vaccination among Māori and Pasifika people was to enlist the help of people from within those communities.

"Our people know our people."

Jackson said he was pleased to see the support at community level for vaccines.

"I'm really excited because we need to get out into these communities in South Auckland," he said.

The buses would help those who may have been reticent or not had easy access to vaccines.

Auckland Mayor Phil Goff said: "We are taking the vaccine to the people."

The aim was to get up to 80 per cent of Aucklanders having had one shot of the vaccine by the end of the week.

While the current lockdown was the right decision, the country could not rely on lockdowns forever.

The six buses - on loan to the Northern Region Health Coordination Centre - will act like pop-up vaccination clinics. Pukekohe is one of the first areas a bus will visit this afternoon.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern this week asked for names for the "Mr Whippy"-style vaccine bus service and has now narrowed it down to four favourites - Jabba Waka, Shot Bro, Jabbin' Wagon, Vaxi Taxi.

With more than 14,000 votes Shot Bro was the most popular choice.

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