Pharmacy urges flu jabs to free up space

Tairua-Pauanui Pharmacy. Photo: Screengrab.

A pharmacy on the Coromandel Peninsula is calling on its community to get jabbed against the flu to make more space for Covid-19 vaccines.

The Tairua-Pauanui Pharmacy, on the Peninsula's eastern coast, put the message out on social media.

Pharmacist Aidan Kortegast says influenza vaccines from this year took up about about a quarter of the space in the pharmacy's small inoculation fridge.

"We want to provide as many vaccines as possible ... and our fridge space is limiting that."

Kortegast says if they could use those vaccines, it could "potentially double our output" of Covid-19 vaccines.

He says the other half of the fridge is needed for medicines like insulin.

Kortegast says there's "only two places that these vaccines can go": in people's arms or going to waste if they are there long enough to expire.

The community had responded well since the message went out on Saturday, which Kortegast was "pleasantly surprised" by.

"We're getting phone calls and we're quite easily able to schedule these extra flu injections throughout the day."

Kortegast says he has seen an increase in demand to get vaccinated against Covid-19 since the start of the current outbreak, particularly because the Coromandel Peninsula had a range of locations of interest.

"There is a lot more urgency," he says.

"Prior to this, I felt that there was a little bit of complacency."

Kortegast thinks there's a possibility some people may not have received their influenza shot because they were eligible to get vaccinated for Covid-19 earlier this year, ultimately leaving the pharmacy with extra stock.

"What's motivating me to do this is that I want to help the Tairua community as much as I can, I'm passionate about that."

-RNZ/Jake Heke.

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