TAWHITI hasn't had one for a year; it's been seven years since Juanita got covered; and Solomone has never had one. But now all three – and many of their colleagues – are vaccinated against influenza.
That's thanks to a Tū Mahi Workplace Wellness partnership between Tūranga Health and employers like Gisborne's Riverland Fruit Company.
As part of their Tū Mahi programme, Tūranga Health nurses arrive at workplaces all over the district and offer flu vaccinations.
Their visit to Riverland, located on the outskirts of Gisborne, saw a crew of just over 20 permanent staff and 20 casuals keen to board the Pikiteora mobile clinic.
“There is absolutely no pressure and it is totally up to them,” says Tūranga Health kaiāwhina, Hinehou Smiler. “We're finding most whānau are keen to protect themselves and those around them as we move into the colder winter months.”
Riverland worker Solomone Paongo had never been vaccinated against the flu but when his employer said Tūranga Health would be offering them as part of their workplace programme, he was one of the first to step up.
“I've worked here for seven years and if it wasn't offered on-site I don't know if I would have had the time to get it done,” says the senior orchard worker. “It's a good way to help me stay healthy and also to protect my wife and two children (eight-year-old and 10-month-old).”
Juanita Taute also received the shot to protect her from getting unwell. “I haven't had the vaccine since I was at intermediate school so getting it at work was pretty great,” she says. “I live with my mum and neither of us want to get sick.”
Growing up with his grandparents in the Manawatu, Tawhiri Brandon-Davies used to get an annual flu vaccine but hasn't had one since he moved to Gisborne.
“I was always told it was important when I was with Nan and Pop but I missed out last year,” says the 19-year-old orchard worker. “It's really great to be back on board by having it at work . . . it feels good to be covered.”
Last year the primary health organisation gave more than 350 flu vaccinations in workplaces and Tūranga Health’s Dallas Poi says protecting even more whānau through newly signed-up employers like Riverland is a great result.
“Keeping on top of a dangerous infectious disease like influenza is a constant challenge as people move among their workmates, their whānau, and the general community,” she says.
“One person can have a lot of contacts throughout the course of a day and this is one way of keeping them all safe.”
Riverland’s human resources manager Carl Hamlin says not only does the Tū Mahi Workplace Wellness programme, including the flu vaccine, encourage healthy lifestyles for his employees, but it also shows the family company’s commitment to offering good support.
“It’s good business in that it keeps workers in work where otherwise they may be ill with the flu,” he says.
“These Tū Mahi Workplace services are also a vehicle for us, as an employer, to show our workers they are valued.
“We’ve dealt with Tūranga Health before and think they do a wonderful job.”
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