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Bay of Plenty’s “fork-through” COVID-19 vaccination

14 September 2021

Poutiri Trust’s COVID-19 vaccinating team were greeted with an unusual sight at its drive-through clinic on 1 September 2021. One Apata Group staff member chose to drive a forklift to get his COVID-19 vaccination.

Bay of Plenty’s “fork-through” COVID-19 vaccination
Poutiri Trust vaccinators experienced what they think might be a first for the country – a forklift COVID-19 vaccine drive-through.

Poutiri Trust general manager Kirsty Maxwell-Crawford says the vaccinating team were unphased and safely administered the vaccine to the Te Puke packhouse staff. “We think we might have witnessed a first in Aotearoa – a fork-through COVID-19 vaccination,” says Maxwell-Crawford. “The photo gave us all a chuckle, but it also speaks to the commitment of Kiwis to get vaccinated to protect their whānau,” says Bay of Plenty District Health Board COVID-19 Incident Controller Trevor Richardson.

Poutiri Trust swiftly adjusted its vaccination operations under COVID-19 Alert Level 4 and began operating the physically distanced drive-through model on Friday, 20 August. The vaccinating team has been reaching out to whānau and essential service organisations to offer the COVID-19 vaccine. “We’re proudly offering the vaccine to our community; our team administered over 700 doses last week,” says Maxwell-Crawford.

Human resources manager of Apata Sheryl Thocolich says it supports the COVID-19 vaccine rollout. “Access to vaccinations is of importance for our essential workforce operating at level 4,” says Thocolich. “During our drive through vaccinations performed by the Poutiri team, any vehicle was accepted, even a forklift. Apata Group’s staff appreciated the convenience, efficiency and friendliness of the Poutiri team,” adds Thocolich.

In collaboration with Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi, Maketu Health & Social Services and the Bay of Plenty DHB, Poutiri Trust vaccinating teams also administered the COVID-19 vaccine to Maketū residents last week on 3 September. Poutiri Trust is also offering the protection of the vaccine to the Bay of Plenty’s Pasifika community in collaboration with the Pacific Island Community (Tauranga) Trust.

Poutiri Trust has been vaccinating whānau in Tauranga and the Western Bay of Plenty since 1 June 2021 with the support of the DHB. The Bay of Plenty DHB says it is partnering with Māori health providers such as Poutiri Trust to deliver an equitable COVID-19 vaccine rollout.
“We’re supporting Poutiri Trust and other iwi and Māori health providers to offer the vaccine to their communities. We’re focussed on ensuring everyone in Te Moana ā Toi is offered the vaccine,” says Richardson. “Getting vaccinated is the best way to protect ourselves, our whānau and our community,” adds Richardson.

The charitable trust is a Māori health provider with services offered in the wider Te Puke area.
Whānau can book their COVID-19 vaccination through Poutiri Trust by visiting or calling 0800 573 0091.

More than 180,000 COVID-19 vaccinations have been administered in the Bay of Plenty district, as of 8 September 2021.