The latest ‘cab off the rank’ in the race to get Aucklanders vaccinated, has been launched in Ōtara today with a new taxi service for those who haven’t been able to get to vaccination centres.

The Northern Region Health Coordination Centre (NRHCC) announced the new initiative at the Ōtara Vaccination Centre with partners Auckland Co-op Taxis (Blue Bubble).

The initiative is aimed at those people who have not yet had their first doses of the vaccine and who may have struggled to access the vaccination programme due to transportation or mobility issues.

NRHCC Clinical Director, Dr Anthony Jordan said the scheme was another important step to increasing Auckland’s vaccination numbers.

“This is about breaking down any barriers people may have in accessing a vaccination. We know that there are people out there who want to be vaccinated but have so far struggled to get their first dose because they either don’t have access to transport, don’t drive or may have mobility issues. This initiative is for them."

Those wishing to access the taxi service can call the vaccination helpline on 0800 28 29 26 to ask for support.

The taxis will only operate between the person’s residential address and the city’s 15 community vaccination centres, which also includes the airport drive-through vaccination site at Māngere.

“We want to make sure that this offer is also open to larger whānau bubbles so the large shuttle bus taxis will be available to these larger groups ensuring that we capture everyone who really needs this service.

We are keen to leave no stone unturned in our bid to get as many Aucklanders vaccinated as possible,” said Dr Jordan.

He said the arrangement with the taxi company was an extension of a current commercial agreement with the Auckland metro DHBs who already work with Auckland Coop Taxis to provide transport for patients with regular medical needs. “We are grateful to the taxi company for extending this discounted arrangement for the vaccination programme and for their flexibility in getting this offer established so quickly.”

The taxi offer will be available from today (Friday 1 October). Those wishing to be included can phone the vaccination helpline, must wear a mask and scan the QR code when entering the vehicle and be able to safely walk to and from the taxi with the assistance of a carer if required.

Up to two people in the same bubble are able to travel in a standard taxi under alert level 3 or up to six people in the same bubble in a shuttle van.