Published Monday 6 Sep 2021

A drive-through clinic at Sky Stadium in Wellington city has been working to vaccinate unprecedented numbers of people safely under alert level 4.

The first few days prioritised Māori, Pacific and Disabled people, as well as essential workers and their bubbles, following the success of earlier kaupapa Māori drive-through clinic at Waiwhetū.

Vaccinations at Sky Stadium then opened up to the general public last weekend, with whole bubbles able to be vaccinated together.

Clinical nurse coordinator Bee Rutledge led the pop-up clinic over the course of last week, and says the experience was 'phenomenal'. "We were able to deliver a very slick service. I'm proud to lead such an awesome, formidable team."

Two stories of the car park at Sky Stadium were transformed in to a clinic, with clearly-defined areas the different stages of the process. People in cars entering the clinic are first given information about what to expect from the vaccine. They then proceed to a reception area, where their details are taken. Next is the vaccination, and finally drivers and passengers spend 15 minutes in a post-vaccination observation area.

"The entire process, including observation, can take as little as half an hour for a solo driver, and 45 minutes for a family of four," says Bee.

Strong interagency relationships led to the success of this clinic. The New Zealand Defence Force provided ten nurses and medics to help with the roll-out, along with Whitireia Polytechnic students, Wellington Free Ambulance, IMAC, and Tū Ora Compass Health. Other organisations such as Fulton Hogan, Red Badge Security and Interwaste have also been working behind the scenes to help the clinic run smoothly.  

Vaccinators administered about 1000 doses each day, and now more than 50% of the people in our region have now had at least one dose of the vaccine.

"The public have been really patient and supportive. They're coming here with the intention of playing their part in reducing the impacts of COVID-19 and see being vaccinated as a great way of moving forward," says Bee.

"We all want to get back to our whānau and normality."