THE influenza vaccine is a big part of Tūranga Health's Tū Mahi Workplace Wellness programme and when nurses Kimi Biddle and Swanitha Brown visited the Coxco packhouse recently workers were keen to see them.
Twenty-seven-year-old machine operator/stock hand Sandra Tombleson only started at Coxco this year but she'd got the vaccine through her former employer so decided to do it again.
“It's great that it's free,” she says. She adds that she’s determined not to take bugs to her home, which she shares with her one-year-old niece and 95-year-old grandfather.
Meanwhile Coxco administration manager Lisa Loader lined up for the first time. “I hadn't booked, but a space became available so I jumped in,” she says. “I'd always thought about having a flu vaccine but having it here at work made it really easy.”
Tūranga Health has long worked at educating whānau about the benefits of being protected against influenza but 2016 was the first year it started offering the vaccine through its workplace programme.
“Last year our nurses gave more than 310 vaccines,” says events and programmes co-ordinator Dallas Poi. “So we found it was a great service to offer, especially for primary industry workers who are often unable to get to the GP during the course of their working day.”
The importance of helping workers to stay well is just one reason why agencies like Tūranga Health are being proactive about immunisation.
Another reason is the risk posed by dangerous strains like the ultra-powerful ‘Aussie’ flu (H3N2), which is covered in the new four-strain vaccine being used in New Zealand for 2018.
“Since we launched the service there's been a great response to the vaccine initiative both in our Tū Mahi programme, and also among our own workforce,” Dallas Poi says.
“We offer it to staff, not just because they are often in contact with whānau as part of their working day, but also as a way of supporting them to stay well in themselves.”
Email us if you want to receive our media releases.