Waikato residents can now get a free bus ride to and from their Covid-19 vaccination appointments.
With the support of the Waikato District Health Board and Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency, Waikato Regional Council is offering free public transport to help residents and their caregivers or dependants attend vaccine appointments and return home afterwards.
Vaccinations are happening at a range of sites, including GP practices, community vaccination centres and pharmacies.
To travel free on any regional or city bus, passengers simply show the bus driver their appointment letter or text confirmation on their mobile phone.
Drivers will check the appointment is dated for the day of travel only.
Waikato regional councillor and regional transport connections committee chairwoman Angela Strange said, "For some people, it's become clear that one thing holding them back from getting a vaccination is the ease of getting to and from appointments.
"We're thrilled to be able to remove this barrier by making bus travel free for people going to and from their appointment," she said.
Waikato DHB chief executive Dr Kevin Snee said the initiative highlighted the programme's emphasis on partnership to reach all communities across the Waikato.
"Our community and primary health providers are working alongside us, creating the opportunity for people to be vaccinated. We also need to look at barriers, like travel costs, that may prevent people from taking up the opportunity. It's wonderful to have Waikato Regional Council's support with this.
"Getting the people of the Waikato vaccinated in the large numbers targeted is a major undertaking that needs everyone working together."
Kevin urged people to get their first vaccination now so they could be fully vaccinated by Christmas.
"We all want to get back to doing the things we love over summer and to avoid more lockdowns. Getting fully vaccinated is our best line of defence against Covid-19," he said.
Many vaccination centres across the region are now taking walk-ins with no bookings needed and all Covid-19 vaccinations are free.
Everyone using public transport is reminded it is mandatory to wear face coverings and scan QR codes when travelling on public transport.
Te Awamutu's regional bus (No. 24) departs and arrives in Gorst Ave, a short walk across Arawata St to the Te Awamutu Vaccination Centre. Other Te Awamutu vaccination destinations are also within walking distance for most people.
More information on the location of vaccination centres and nearest bus routes is available at busit.co.nz/vaccination.