Whanganui staff working in dairies and petrol stations are pleased to be included in the list of essential workers who can get early access to a Covid-19 vaccination.
Caltex, Victoria Ave site manager Nisit Sharma and duty manager Saia Sisilau said it was reassuring to be included in the Government's group two priority list which since last week includes supermarket staff, healthcare workers, pharmacy workers and also now includes workers in foodbanks, hardware stores and accommodation services.
"Things have been pretty quiet during the lockdown and people have been really good about keeping their distance and wearing masks but it's good to be recognised as being in the frontline," Sisilau said.
Dave Hooker, executive director of the New Zealand Association of Convenience Stores (NZACS) said it was good to receive confirmation from the Government that these frontline workers have been recognised.
"It recognises the increased risk that people in this group face of contracting Covid-19 in the course of their work," he said.
Majestic Square Ice Cream Shop & Dairy manager Akshib Dhawan said he had not heard about the criteria that now qualifies him as an essential worker.
"That is really good to hear," he said.
"I will make a booking to have the vaccine straight away."
Dhawan said the shop has been fairly busy during lockdown and customers have been complying with guidelines around distancing and mask-wearing.
"Some of our customers are older people who need to stay home so we've been taking phone orders and doing non-contact deliveries.
Others now in the group 2 category include those working for licensing trusts, self-service laundries, hardware stores, accommodation services, school hostels, and passenger services (including public transport services) provided by means of road, rail, air, or sea.
Also added to the grouping are social and community-based workers providing critical well-being and crisis support for people who are unsafe or homeless.
Jigsaw Whanganui executive officer Tim Metcalfe said all 31 agency staff have been vaccinated and are currently working remotely by phone and video call as well as dropping food parcels and other essentials to clients' homes.
"Although the office is closed and we have suspended regular visiting, please feel free to contact us if you and your family are worried, stressed out, needing support, information, and advocacy, or just want someone to talk to," he said.
Koha Shed manager Sherron Sunnex said she and other volunteers working to support a group of homeless people in Whanganui had been vaccinated.
"I have suggested the possibility of a pop-up vaccination clinic for the homeless," she said.
"The people who are staying at the freedom camping site are wearing masks and observing distancing guidelines."
District health boards are working directly with employers of group 2 workers to organise vaccinations and Whanganui DHB held special clinics for supermarket staff last weekend.
"There were 348 supermarket workers vaccinated on Saturday," a DHB spokesman said.
"Those who meet the criteria for group 2 should phone to make an appointment or they can book online."
Appointments can be booked by calling 0800 28 29 26 or online at bookmyvaccine.nz