Saturday, April 20, 2024

Franklin officials urge vaccine uptake

COVID-19 vaccination rates have broken through the 90% target in Franklin, but the area’s elected officials are concerned there are local communities still yet to pass the mark.

Franklin has hit 91% for first vaccinations and 80% for second. Deputy Mayor and Franklin Ward Councillor, Bill Cashmore says due to the area’s size, some rural communities found accessing vaccinations more difficult.

“I was delighted to see efforts being made on the Awhitu Peninsula at Matakawau, especially because the community was the driving force behind that,” he said.

Franklin Local Board chair, Andy Baker says it was great news to see the target hit locally.

“There’s no reason we can’t plough on and achieve even higher coverage, and we’re seeing a couple of pockets where the rate is a little behind what we’ve achieved elsewhere,” Mr Baker said.

“Board member Logan Soole has been very active in encouraging people to pop-up centres and the vaccination centre staff in town have been nothing short of magnificent, while local health providers have been reaching deep into the community.

“Pukekohe central, northwest, and Drury central have the lowest rates in our urban areas, while Awhitu is trailing for rural parts, and we’d love to see that improve.”

Mr Baker said Super Saturday had good uptake and provided those who presented for a first dose returned for a second, the fully-vaccinated rate should climb.

“First doses are good across the district. In some areas, such as Clarks Beach, Patumahoe and Beachlands-Maraetai, they are in the mid to high 90 per cent range, which is awesome.”

“There’s a strong desire to get vaccinated, and every dose is critical not just because it gets us closer to the target, but because it represents another person who is that bit safer.

“We all want freedom. We can see people and businesses hurting, we know people cut off from loved ones and others in difficult situations, and we can do something about that,” he said.

He urged anyone with concerns about vaccination to talk to a medical professional or to take a friend or family member with them as support to a pop-up event.

“We said on day one that people weren’t the problem, the virus was, and nothing has changed. It’s wrong to think you can browbeat someone into doing something they don’t want to, but that doesn’t mean you can’t encourage them. We don’t want anyone left behind.”

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