Leaders at Auckland's newest vaccination centre say the shift to a drive-through setup recognises the risk posed by Omicron.
It comes as 10 new cases linked to the January Omicron cluster were announced today, with confirmation the highly transmissible variant had spread to Tauranga.
Today also saw the opening of the drive-through vaccination centre - run by provider The Fono - on the corner of Gunton Drive and Tawhia Drive in Westgate, replacing the area's indoor centre.
Site lead Hira Harema said the change in setup was to reduce the risk of transmission for those coming for vaccination.
"The outdoors vaccination programme is a bit safer than indoors," she said.
Opening at 11am, the site experienced an early rush with cars lining up from 10.30am. By midday, staff had vaccinated almost 100 people.
From tomorrow, the centre would be open 8.30am to 3.30pm every day.
Harema said many staff had been through further training necessary to manage the extra health and safety issues posed by a drive-through site, such as safely navigating vehicles around the centre.
Across three separate sites over the past week, The Fono had administered about 6400 vaccines - 54 per cent were boosters and 40 per cent were the paediatric vaccine.
At a drive-through event in Māngere, vaccinations had to be paused for an hour because excess demand was interfering with traffic.
Chief executive Tevita Funaki said they were targeting Auckland's Pasifika populations but, as one of two large vaccination centres in West Auckland, he acknowledged the centre's relevance to residents.
"It's heavily reliant on us and the one at [Te Whānau o] Waipareira, so while we were catering for Pacific, I'm fully aware we are here for the whole West Auckland population," he said.
Some vaccination centres had buckled due to high demand, including a new drive-through centre on the North Shore last week which saw wait times of more than an hour thanks in part to poor traffic management.
Funaki recognised centres needed to be flexible as the vaccination process evolved.
He cited how bottlenecks at drive-through centres had traditionally been found at the observation stage following vaccination.
However, queues for the paediatric vaccine were much more likely at the registration stage, where informed consent is required, or at vaccination, where children were sometimes uncomfortable.
Funaki said staff were well prepared to deal with high demand as the site was able to extend into currently unused space.