An initiative to vaccinate people with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in more suitable environments in Wellington has been praised on social media, with people calling on other regions of New Zealand - and even other countries - to follow suit.
An autism-specific Covid vaccination clinic will run for two days on August 14 and 15 in Wellington.
The vaccination clinic will take place in a low sensory environment, suitable for people with autism.
The event will take place at the Autism NZ Resource Centre, in Petone, with other low sensory events happening across the wider Wellington region, scheduled by the DHB.
People who have their first dose during the clinic will have the second dose automatically booked in four weeks later.
According to Autism NZ, this will be a purpose-built space for autistic people, taking into account sensory needs such as lighting, sound, and visual elements.
Autism NZ staff will be available on the day to assist those getting vaccinated and there will be sensory tools available to help, as well as maps and clear instructions developed specifically for autistic people.
Each appointment will also be longer than the standard vaccine appointment, to allow each person to feel comfortable in the environment, with only 50 people vaccinated per day.
'Wonderful' idea praised on social media
The initiative has received overwhelmingly positive feedback on social media, with many urging other DHBs to organise similar events.
"ASD Wellington peeps, look! Make use of this so that it may be offered in other regions," one person said on Twitter.
"This is so cool! Inclusive vaccination processes! I'm impressed," another Twitter user said.
Autism NZ will also hold two drop-in days ahead of the event, to help people familiarise themselves with the venue.
The space will have sensory-friendly waiting and transition spaces as well as breakout quiet spaces in case of stress or anxiety.
Across the wider Wellington region, the DHB is also organising a number of vaccination events for people with disabilities.
These will include longer appointment times, more space to move around, information in large print, Easy Read and New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL) as well as events with NZSL interpreters.
How to book your vaccination at an Accessible Event
Everyone who has a disability, impairment or long-term health condition can book an appointment to get their Covid-19 vaccination at one of the Accessible Events in the Wellington region.
A full list of where and when these Accessible Events are taking place can be found here.
Bookings can be made by email, text or phone call:
Call: 0800829935 (between 7am and 4:30pm Monday to Friday)
Text only: 027 281 5017