Vaxathon driver promises giveaways for vaccinated people

Vaccinator Rebekah Elliot administers another dose of the vaccine at a drive-in clinic in Palmerston North.

DAVID UNWIN / Stuff

Vaccinator Rebekah Elliot administers another dose of the vaccine at a drive-in clinic in Palmerston North.

Free swimming vouchers, rugby tickets and bus rides are among the incentives offered to people in the MidCentral Health region to get vaccinated against Covid-19 this weekend.

Preparations are underway for the region’s role in the Government-sponsored Super Saturday vaccine attack and televised vaxathon.

The first 200 to shoot at the Central Energy Trust Arena and The Plaza stop by to grab a ticket from the ManawatÅ« Turbos for Saturday night’s game against Wellington.

And the Lido Aquatic Center was overflowing with 50 swimming vouchers to be awarded.

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Working with the Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency, Horizons District Council provides free bus rides on Saturdays and through the end of the year for people going to any clinic, 16 in Palmerston North and 12 in towns in the region.

Sam Ferguson, chairman of the Horizons public transit committee, said that if someone takes the bus to get to or from the vaccine, they only need to show the driver their appointment information.

Carers or dependents can also travel with the person for free.

Covid-19 response manager Bronwen Warren said businesses and organizations in the region have donated hundreds of awards and helped spread the word about vaccine celebrations in their communities.

“We’ve had a huge response from the business community and we know their help will encourage more people to get vaccinated in our region.”

The move comes at the end of a week when the Government announced that vaccination would be mandatory for most health and education workers and pushed to raise vaccination rates above 90 percent amid the Auckland epidemic as the number of cases rises.

Nationally, 61 percent of the eligible population are fully vaccinated, and 83 percent have received at least one vaccine. MidCentral lags slightly behind national numbers.

MidCentral’s goal is to deliver 15,000 vaccines throughout the week by the end of Saturday.

He had already finished 6762 Monday through Wednesday and was almost halfway through his goal.

In North Palmerston alone, 4689 vaccines were administered.

The full list of approved clinics for Saturday will be updated on MidCentral. Web site and Facebook page.

Some vaccination sites are for reserved appointments or priority populations only. If you cannot see a clinic on HealthPoint, please call 0800 MDHB VAX (0800 6342 829) for more information.

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