Vaccination: ‘We’ve got to get this done’

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    Ready to go: McCallums Group group sales and marketing manager Paul Harrington (left) and ILT board member Paddy O'Brien stand next to one of the trust's courtesy vans PHOTO: LAURA SMITH

    WHILE the South Island is leading the way with Covid-19 vaccinations, Southland is dragging behind in getting the population double-dosed.

    Of those eligible in Southland, almost half are fully vaccinated against Covid-19.

    This, however, means a large portion of the region’s residents still need to get the jab.

    As of the beginning of this week, Southland ranked 55th out of 66 cities or districts for the percentage of the population fully vaccinated.

    Sitting at 46.6%, the area was slightly better than Whakatane and slightly worse than Waitomo.

    Invercargill was doing better and was in 23rd spot with 55.9%. This was better than Wellington and worse than Hastings.

    Neighbouring Otago was doing well; Dunedin was leading the way with a solid 67% of the eligible population fully vaccinated, while Central Otago was sitting in third place with 64%.

    Vaccination facts
    • Anyone aged 12 and over can get a free Covid-19 vaccination.
    • Bookings can be made online or by phone.
    • The Covid-19 vaccine means less spread of the virus.
    • The vaccine also means fewer people get really sick from Covid-19.
    • Studies show 95% of people who are fully vaccinated are protected against getting Covid-19 symptoms.
    • Mild side effects, similar to all medicine, are common and shows your body is learning to fight the virus.
    • At this stage, the Pfizer vaccine is the only one available in New Zealand.
    • There are 32 Covid-19 vaccination services in Southland.

    In an attempt to raise the national percentage of vaccinations, the Government is pushing for a national day of action this weekend Saturday.

    “It has never been more urgent to get New Zealand vaccinated. Summer is just eight weeks away and we need everyone to book their first vaccine appointment now so they can get two doses and enjoy everything a classic Kiwi summer has to offer,” the Ministry of Health says.

    The more New Zealanders were fully vaccinated, the greater protection all would have against Covid-19 and that in turn meant more freedom, the ministry said on the Unite against Covid-19 website.

    “If you are part of the 20% of the people who have not yet had a vaccination, it is going to be super easy to get vaccinated on Super Saturday. Vaccine clinics will be open all over the country, all day and into the evening.”

    Notices of Covid-19 vaccinations which do not require an appointment have been put in shops and windows throughout Invercargill PHOTO: LAURA SMITH

    Access to a vaccination service seemed to be a key issue for some Southlanders.

    Andrew Morrison knows the Southland farming community well; the Beef+Lamb New Zealand chairman is double vaccinated and he said anyone looking after livestock should understand the importance of vaccines.

    He believed the quicker everyone got their jabs, the less likely all New Zealand would experience long-lasting lockdowns and raised alert levels.

    “We’ve got to get this done.”

    He understood it was a busy time of year but asked Southland farmers to make time to get the vaccine.

    As part of the Invercargill effort, two well-known Invercargill companies will join forces to launch the Need a Lift service; ILT and McCallums Group will offer free transport to and from the Civic Theatre vaccination centre during Super Saturday.

    The initiative is the brainchild of ILT board member Paddy O’Brien and aimed to remove one of the barriers for those choosing to get vaccinated.

    Mr O’Brien said when the event was announced he felt using the licensing trust’s courtesy coaches for transfers around the city was the perfect way to help the community at a local level.

    McCallums Group group sales and marketing manager Paul Harrington issued a challenge for the city: proud to be playing our part in keeping the community safe and would love to see Invercargill top the country’s vaccination charts after this weekend.

    The transport service will be offered from 9am to 4pm on Saturday.
    Bookings are essential and must be made by 3pm on Friday by phoning (03) 211 3732 and leaving a message.

    Nga Kete Matauranga Pounamu Charitable Trust was also working to be as adaptable and accessible as its community needed.

    Chief executive Tracey Wright-Tawha said the trust had provided 10,000 doses of the vaccine and was open to anyone needing help in getting the vaccine to give the trust a
    call.

    The focus for the trust this weekend was rangatahi, and getting Maori and Pasifika youth vaccinated, but it was also there for everyone in the community.

    ‘‘The time is now. That’s the key message.’’

    Covid-19 was in New Zealand and people needed to take the time to get vaccinated, she said.

    More information about Covid-19 and the vaccination can be found at the Ministry of Health website or covid19.govt.nz.

    Vaccination locations can be found on the Healthpoint website, as well as at Southern Health.

    —Statistics sourced from Ministry of Health.

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