News Story

Community Gets Behind Drive-Through Vaccination Service

Pop-up service on Church site in South Auckland delivers more than 2000 "jabs"

New Zealand is in the midst of a lockdown as a result of a recent spike in COVID-19 cases in the Auckland area. 

As part of the country’s response, the government has been making a major effort to get the population vaccinated as soon as possible.

A Latter-day Saint meetinghouse in Mangere in South Auckland was the site of pop-up drive-through vaccination centre with three active bays for delivering vaccines to drivers and passengers. New Zealand, September 2021.2021 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

To aid in this effort, last week The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints made available its meetinghouse in Mangere, South Auckland so a drive through “pop-up” vaccination centre could be set up.  

The centre opened on Wednesday 1 September and continued through Saturday 4 September and was able to provide vaccinations to 2,225 people.

Many people who attend The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ congregations within the South Auckland are of Pacific Islander or Māori heritage.

“We felt there was a need for much better communication with those in our communities," said Latter-day Saint local leader Taulia Tafiti.

"We believe that this approach made people feel more comfortable in a familiar setting, helping to break down barriers to getting the vaccine, It’s a wonderful blessing to be able to use our facilities to support not only the members of our own faith but the many fanau (family) that live within our community,” he said. 

Harriett Pauga, Clinical Lead for Community Vaccination Sites for the Northern Region Health Coordination Centre, was very pleased with the approach and the excellent turnout.

“It is encouraging to see a church joining forces with local Pacific leaders, providers, and health care organisations to increase impact of this vaccination effort,” she said.

The Honourable Aupito William Sio, Minister for Pacific Peoples and Member of Parliament, offered his thanks to the local Church members for their assistance.

“I offer my thanks along with the thanks of Prime Minister Ardern for your leadership in helping to offer every New Zealander a chance to get vaccinated. This work is about protecting lives and I thank you for your willingness to lay your lives on the line to help keep everyone safe.”

Russell M. Nelson, president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and a physician, received the COVID-19 vaccination earlier this year alongside other senior leaders.

The First Presidency released an official statement urging Church members to “help quell the pandemic by safeguarding themselves and others through immunisation” because “vaccinations administered by competent medical professionals protect health and preserve life.”

Style Guide Note:When reporting about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, please use the complete name of the Church in the first reference. For more information on the use of the name of the Church, go to our online Style Guide.