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Ed Sheeran

Transport consideration in Covid roll out

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Good parking could be the key to a smooth roll out of Covid-19 vaccines.

That’s the word from Māori health expert and general practitioner Matire Harwood, as vaccination efforts are set to step up with the arrival of bulk supplies from the end of July.

New Zealanders over 60 will be offered a vaccination from July 28 and those over 55 from August 11, followed by other age groups and general eligibility from October.

Dr Harwood says the experience so far in South Auckland, which was first in the queue, is that Māori take up rates have been good in places like Manurewa, where people can get their shots on the marae, but there have been problems in some other areas.

Lack of access to the internet to make bookings is a problem for many whānau, and many people don’t realise they can’t just get a shot at a GP clinic because of the requirements to store the vaccine at a low temperature.

Transport can also be critical.

"My whānau who are living in central Auckland were told to go into the middle of the city, the motel there and have it done and the car parking there was atrocious so it was a matter of the rest of us pretty much being Uber drivers to get my parents to get their Covid vaccines so having places that have good transport and car parking options," Dr Harwood says.

Dr Harwood says as more is learned about the storage capacity of the vaccine, it may become feasible to vaccinate people in their homes or in rural areas.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern gets her first Covid-19 jab at Manurewa Marae this afternoon.

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