Walk-in covid jabs popular

Sunethra Balasoorya, left, Ann Cuthbertson and Melissa Chilton after their covid vaccinations at a pop up clinic in Rakaia.

Ann Cuthbertson was always going to get her covid vaccinations and was booked in for early October.

It was not only important for New Zealanders health and to help reopen the country’s borders, but she wanted to protect the more vulnerable in her life from the ill-effects of the virus.

A walk-in covid vaccination clinic at Rakaia Community Hall popped up at short notice last week, and her employer, Van Zanten Flowerbulbs Ltd, gave the chance for staff working to attend.

She, along with another three employees took up the offer and attended as walk-ins to be vaccinated.

Mrs Cuthbertson said getting vaccinated at the walk-in clinic – and cancelling her October appointment – meant she was vaccinated the same day as her husband – who already had a booking in place.

Another Van Zanten employee, Melissa Chilton, was already booked in to be vaccinated at the clinic. She was not confident about getting the vaccine after hearing of people feeling unwell afterwards, but had still booked an appointment.

Rakaia Medical Centre’s Debbie Renga, left, with Life Pharmacy Ashburton’s Simon Church and Maxine Chisnall at a vaccination clinic run at the Rakaia Community Hall.

The women, along with workmate Sunethra Balasoorya, seamlessly sailed through their vaccinations with staff from Life Pharmacy Ashburton, Rakaia Medical Centre and Waitaha Primary Health, spent the required 15minutes wait afterwards and were back at work in time for afternoon smoko.

Mrs Cuthbertson did not even have time to open the weighty novel she was carrying.

Simon Church, of Ashburton Life Pharmacy, said the majority attending were getting their first covid jabs and up to 300 people were expected.

They had also opened up for walk-ins (people without appointments or those who had booked but wanted to have their vaccinations earlier).

The clinic was part of a push locally to get everyone in the community access to their first vaccination, and free up capacity on the vaccination schedule, he said.

Life Pharmacy Ashburton was the first covid vaccinator in Mid Canterbury and, since starting in May, had completed more than 11,000 vaccinations.

Most people had prebooked, so staff had prepared covid vaccination cards which made the process faster, Mr Church said.