Drive-thru flu jab station puts smiles on South Auckland faces

By D'Angelo Martin

While earlier this week Dr Ashley Bloomfield encouraged the public to get their flu jab, this step now seems to have backfired due to a countrywide flu vaccination shortage. The Ministry of Health fears that with the current flu vaccination distribution rate, New Zealand is likely to run out of stock by next week. However, a free drive-thru influenza vaccination station was set up today in South Auckland at the BBM Motivation building.

Flu vaccinations provided for the young and the old which will keep families protected throughout the flu season. Today's operation started at 9 am where a queue was already present outside the BBM headquarters. 

"We came here with my family to do our flu vacs, just to check that everyone was safe especially with this virus going around, just want my family to be safe and sound. It was actually really good, I thought it'll be long but it was quite a fast service. So yeah, everything went well with my nieces and daughter," a relieved community member told Te Ao.

"This is the only drive-thru that we should be waiting for, nevermind those other ones that make you wait for hours. You come through here, you park up, they get all your details. It's basically as if you were at the doctor's but you're in your car. All the people behind us are trained medical staff," David Letele says. 

A collaborative effort between Alliance Health Plus Southpoint Family Doctors and BBM Motivation, Letele says today was to help the community and the vulnerable.

"We are aware that there is a flu shortage and we are aware that a lot of us don't like going to the doctors and getting this done, especially now with Covid we don't want to risk it. So we said look let's just do it here."

Winter is near and with it comes a lot more health risks and it is easier for people to get sick, but with this drive-thru vaccination station set up it is free and people can remain in their bubble and comfort zone while still getting what they need. 

Ula Letele, who is David's uncle, operates behind the scenes for his nephew. "All of our community are vulnerable, these are people that can have three to four families within one three-bedroom house. So it was just important prior to going into winter, which is June-July proper."

A member of the public feeling happy and now relieved says, "It was important for him and his family to get the flu vacs today, especially around this time with coronavirus and stuff. It's just safer doing it via drive thru."

Ula Letele supports the prime minister's strategy of putting the country into lockdown early to not give Covid-19 a chance to get out of hand. And while coronavirus is still lingering within our country, the influenza virus is something that causes hundreds of deaths every year and so people are being vigilant. 
"I think if you look at the PM again and her leadership, you know 'go hard' or 'go hard and go fast' that's been key for us to control the spread of Covid. That's shown NZ really good decisive grassroot action and we're following the same theme."

Although the drive-thru free vaccination station at BBM was only set to be a one-off, David Letele and his crew can see a demand and will probably do another one later down the track