Pacific communities across the nation have rolled up their sleeves to reach the vaccination milestone of 90% first COVID-19 vaccinations, Minister for Pacific Peoples and Associate Minister of Health, Aupito William Sio said today.
“Reaching this milestone reflects the work Pacific Health Providers and other community leaders have put in to reaching people in our Pacific communities across Aotearoa to support the vaccination drive, by door-knocking, going to workplaces and places of worship to vaccinate,” the Minister said.
“However, we still have work to do to reach those who are yet to receive their first dose, and also to encourage our communities to get their second dose, which will help us be able to get back to doing all the things we enjoy over the coming summer.
“We know that giving Pacific people and Pacific Providers a say to lead in the delivery of vaccination services is what works for our communities. That innovative approach by Pacific providers using our Pacific language and cultural intelligence has been embraced by everyone,” he said.
Targeted initiatives have included pop-up vaccination events, community outreach activity, a special 0800 vaccine booking number staffed by Pacific language speakers targeting Pacific families, and vaccination buses that are targeting areas where vaccination numbers are low and where communities have difficulty accessing services.
“And, over the last year the Ministry of Health, in partnership with the Ministry of Pacific Peoples, has set up Pacific community roadshows and online fono across the country with the involvement of Pacific youth. These forums saw robust discussion about misinformation around the COVID-19 vaccine and vaccine hesitancy in the community,” said Minister Sio.
“We have also ensured that we have content in the nine Pacific languages on our Unite Against COVID-19 website, and targeted Pacific content in our communications campaigns.
“The Ministry of Health has also commissioned research to better understand Pacific peoples’ attitudes towards the COVID-19 vaccination, which helps to further refine our approach towards addressing vaccine hesitancy and misinformation amongst Pacific communities.
“In the meantime, I encourage everyone in Aotearoa New Zealand who has had their first dose to book their second dose if they haven’t already, by visiting BookMyVaccine.nz or by calling Healthline.
“We want all our communities to be protected against COVID-19,” the Minister said.