For immunocompromised Maungaturoto woman May Seager, getting vaccinated against Covid-19 "just made sense".
"I'm proactive when it comes to health because I've lost members of my family who could've lived for longer if we'd had more knowledge," Seager said.
Her grandmother died of cervical cancer at the age of 56. Seager was 10 years old.
"She was basically my mum. I lived with her and she adopted me. It had a huge impact on me when she died."
She didn't realise what her grandmother had died of until Seager found a death certificate.
"My doctor had been telling me I needed to have a cervical smear, and once I read that piece of paper I had it done. And when they did my smear, I had abnormal cells and had to have laser therapy.
"I was only 32 at the time, and a mother of two. If I hadn't had that smear, my story could've been very different."
It wasn't Seager's last encounter with cancer.
A mammogram when she was 45 revealed breast cancer. Seager had a mastectomy, but in 2017 the cancer returned and she continues to battle advanced cancer, which has left her immune-compromised.
Seager has also lived with chronic asthma for 10 years, following a chest infection.
Health issues have affected her family, too. She lost a baby, had two premature daughters, and her stepson had encephalitis, an inflammation of the brain that led to long-lasting effects.
Her husband's family has a history of prostate cancer, and he gets checked regularly.
"Health is a big thing for us."
When it came time to get the Covid-19 vaccine, Seager said; "It was pretty much a no-brainer for me to go and have my vaccine. But it's not just for myself. My mum has COPD [Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease – a severe lung disease] and if I want to visit her, I should be keeping her safe."
She also wants to help protect vulnerable people in her local community in Maungaturoto, where she's lived for 25 years.
"There's a lady who just turned 95 in my church group, and we love her to bits. You've got to think about people like that – our friends and whānau who are vulnerable."
Part of protecting the community was about preserving our quality of life, our culture, and the way we connect with each other, Seager said.
"I'm a Cook Islander, and Pacific people are all about getting up close and 'kanohi ki kanohi'. The way this pandemic makes us live is contrary to the way we naturally operate, and that's very difficult for us."
Northland has 3111 Pasifika eligible people for the vaccine. Of that, 37.5 per cent are fully vaccinated, 22.4 per cent have had one dose and 39.9 per cent are unvaccinated.
Seager is also aware of the impact Covid-19 could have on health services. Because of her health issues, she's been involved in several consumer groups that give advice and insights from a patient's perspective to healthcare organisations to help them provide better care.
She has worked in this capacity with Northland DHB, Northland's primary health entity Mahitahi Hauora, and the National Cancer Control Agency Te Aho o Te Kahu.