Tauranga homeless advocate turns focus to combating vaccine misinfo among city's vulnerable

An advocate for Tauranga’s homeless population is pioneering an initiative to help combat Covid-19 vaccine misinformation amongst the community.

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Tommy Wilson and his team will be connecting with and handing out information about the vaccine to the city’s homeless. Source: Breakfast

Tuinga Whānau Support Services Trust, led by Tommy Wilson, helps house and advocate for the homeless. His latest venture is the ‘Jab Cab’ – launching today — which will help provide accurate information to “take the fear” out of vaccination.

“Pretty much a year ago when we first came into Covid and the challenge was to get the right message out there in a language that our whānau could understand – when I say our whānau, mostly the lost and the lonely and the broken and the broken-hearted,” Wilson says.

And to get that message, that we believe we’ve done successfully over the last year, we want to carry on with this initiative, which is to take the fear out of vaccination, just like we took the fear out of homelessness,” he says.

The 'Pfizer for Whānau' team will roam the streets of Tauranga to help take that message to the city’s vulnerable.

“Let’s get the right message out there for our people to get the information.

“It’s knowledge that we’ve got to move to our people but it’s got to be knowledge that they understand,” Wilson says.

He says, in partnership with the local DHB, the team will also be able to set up a clinic where people can come to get vaccinated.

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Wilson says Tuinga Whānau has 135 families under its care and sees on average 80 a week.

“So if we just start in our own backyard and we put out a message that we believe they can understand, so they can make up their choices,” he says.

“The country feels like we’ve turned a corner with the great announcement that the Aussie bubble is up and running.

“It will be one small prick for man and a giant jab for mankind.”

Jab Cab central is located at the RSA building in Tauranga from today.