Te Tairāwhiti residents are working hard to fight Covid-19 misinformation on the ground, in a bid to get vaccination rates up as the country’s move to the traffic light system looms.
The East Coast region, a popular spot to visit for many during summer, has some of the lowest vaccination rates in the country, currently sitting at 85 per cent first dose.
This weekend will see a big push across Te Tairāwhiti, with community health workers and whānau hitting the streets to hit the 90 per cent first dose milestone before the holidays.
Dianne Akurangi of Tū Mai Tairāwhiti, a community-led kaupapa, is part of a crew organising a street party in Kaiti, a suburb of Gisborne, this weekend to help drive those rates up.
She says it’s all about “bringing the service to the people”, and making it whānau friendly for those who are uncertain, with bouncy castles, kai, music, vouchers and more.
“We know that there’s some hesitancies around the vaccine so we are providing an opportunity for them to talk with our professionals on Sunday.
“It’s about bringing the whole whānau out, and not just the individual, it’s about whānau supporting whānau.
“It is crucial [getting the vaccine] especially if we want to continue to do the things that we love to do.”
Another Kaiti local dispelling misinformation on the ground and getting vaccine rates up, is Charlotte Gibson of Te Poho-o-Rawiri Marae.
She says door knocking is a big part of their mahi.
“There’s been so much misinformation we’re trying to claw back to try and get them to trust us that they need to get the jab,” says Gibson.
“For us it's knock on the doors of our people.”
A drive through vaccination clinic will be held at Te Poho o Rawiri Marae over the weekend, from 10am-2pm each day.
Kaiti’s street party, on Tyndall street, is another of many community-led vaccine initiatives across the region. It's on this coming weekend, Sunday from 10am-2pm.
Matai Smith, of Tū Mai Tairāwhiti, says the community is almost there in terms of reaching that first dose milestone.
“This weekend’s going to be huge in terms of trying to get our people vaccinations.”