Vaccine tour itinerary out

The ‘‘farmgate tour’’ hits the road next Monday, making it easier for Southland’s rural communities to get vaccinated.

Tracy Hicks
Tracy Hicks
Gore Mayor Tracy Hicks and Southland Mayor Gary Tong will be out towing caravans with staff from Southern Health, stopping in small communities to allow people in more isolated areas to get vaccinated against Covid-19.

The tour was announced last week and more details were revealed yesterday.

The areas visited will be all over Southland, from Waimumu to Manapouri.

The mayors and support team will spend the week throughout Southland and then return at the end of next month for people to get their second vaccination.

Walk-ins are encouraged and the vaccine is free.

Mr Hicks and Mr Tong, the tour’s instigators, said it made sense for Southland’s two rural-focused councils to join forces.

‘‘ Anything we can do to make it easier for people in more remote areas to get vaccinated and lift the regions rate above 90% has got to be good,’’ Mr Hicks said.

Gary Tong. Photo: ODT files
Gary Tong. Photo: ODT files
The goal was to improve accessibility to the vaccine.

‘‘If everyone has the opportunity to get vaccinated, I’d call that a success,’’ he said.

Mr Tong said the team was keen to get in and help and thought the tour could be useful, knowing many rural people were flat-out at the moment and did not have time to travel an hour or more to get vaccinated.

‘‘We’re hoping to see lots of people getting a vaccination so we can help all of New Zealand move forward,’’ he said.

Southern District Health Board Covid-19 vaccine programme lead Hamish Brown said he was grateful for the support of councils and businesses and he was excited to see the farmgate tour get under way.

‘‘The more people who are vaccinated, the better protection our community has against Covid-19 and the sooner we can get back to doing the things we love,’’ Mr Brown said.

The areas to be visited are: Wrights Bush, Fairfax, Drummond, Centre Bush, Dipton, Athol, Garston, Kingston, Mossburn, The Key, Manapouri, Blackmount, Orepuki, Mandeville, Balfour, Waikaia, Waikaka, Wyndham, Mokoreta, Fortrose, Gorge Road, Woodlands, Hedgehope and Waimumu.

Venues can be found on the councils’ websites from the end of this week.

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