Pasifika communities in Auckland step up efforts with pop-up vaccination stations

Source: 1News

As Covid community cases continue to pop-up in the Auckland area, Pasifika communities are stepping up to help keep their most vulnerable safe with approachable and culturally-catered pop-up vaccination stations.

The rollout to the 300,000 Kiwis to book their jab comes five days earlier than expected.

Three-day drives have been set up by leaders in the Cook Islands and Niuean communities to support both their people and the wider Pacific community living in South Auckland this week.

The three-day vaccination events are aimed at getting people to get their first or second dose while using their native language to make people comfortable.

For the Cook Islands community, it’s hoped the drive at Atiu Hall in Mangere will be a big step towards their goal of getting everyone fully vaccinated by December given just 53 per cent of the 80,000 Cook Islanders living in Aotearoa have had their two jabs so far.

Dr Aumea Herman, the clinical lead of the drive, told Tagata Pasifika it was heartwarming to see their efforts paying ogg.

“I’m just pleased we’ve seen our Cook Islanders drive through today,” she said. 

“I think it's just great, a lovely family event collective event, nationalistic event as well.”

Just a kilometre away, the Niue community is holding their own vaccination drive at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints on Robertson Road.

Vaccinator Hayden Erick said he wanted to help out to keep everyone safe.

“We know that covid-19 is in our community so the risk is here now and we need to do our part to keep ourselves, our family and community safe,” he said. 

“I am very passionate about making this event successful.”

Organisers told Tagata Pasifika they hope to vaccinate 500 people per day and are even using social media to reach younger Niueans. 

Niuean leader Dr Colin Tukuitonga said a focus on younger people was needed. 

“We are really targetting the young people and the reason for that is because they are the ones with the lowest up take,” he said. 

“The delta variant appears to have affected young people more so that’s a good reason.”

Tukuitonga has been a firm advocate for a community-based response to the pandemic and told Tagata Pasifika it's important that the Government recognises that expertise already exist within the communities to reach their own people.

“I think if we move away from the elimination strategy we want to make sure that all our people are vaccinated or as many as possible and that's why we thought we would do this to contribute to that, particularly here in Auckland,” he said. 

“The more people who are vaccinated the better.”

Over in the islands, Niue has achieved Covid-19 herd immunity status with almost 100 per cent of its target group vaccinated.