Rotorua gang members roll up sleeves for Covid vaccine

Source: 1News

Some of New Zealand's harder-to-reach communities - including gang members - were rolling up their sleeves to get the Covid-19 vaccine in Rotorua on Saturday, with organisers labelling it a major success.

Sixty jabs were administered at Rotorua's Fordlands Reserve to gang members and whānau, boosting the lagging vaccination rates in the Lakes region.

The district has seen just 65 per cent of Māori get their first dose, and 45 per cent double dosed.

But those organising the event knew exactly what was needed to get people along.

"If you don't have the connection into this particular space which is hard to reach and highly complex you're not going to be able to get in the door unless there's an authenticity in terms of relationship but also having respect," Waata Heathcote of Waiariki Whānau Mentoring said.

Lakes DHB outreach coordinator Yvonne Roger believed a change in approach to the rollout was needed.

"I think our whole health system needs to look at how we can do things differently, not just DHBs and this is why. We wouldn't have these whānau vaccinated today if this is not what they wanted, and this is what they wanted.

"If gang members can get it, you can get it. It's all up to you."