Kiwi-owned waste recycling and minimisation company Green Gorilla is pitching in for the fight against Covid-19 by promoting staff vaccination.
It was a logical step for the company, which prides itself on progressive policies including
carboNZero certification and at least minimum living wages for all staff.
"From the very beginning of the outbreak, we made a conscious effort to promote vaccination within our team," said CEO Elaine Morgan.
"In the business that we're in we supply waste and recycling services to a lot of essential workers and essential services, and part of that is hospitals, rest homes, supermarkets, places where there are a lot of vulnerable people."
The company decided on a passive approach, getting teams to talk about Covid and the benefits of vaccination over breakfast during their morning toolbox meetings.
"At the very beginning of the Covid outbreak, we made an effort to start that process," said Morgan. "We asked our employees and owner drivers who was vaccinated. It wasn't mandatory for them to give us the information, obviously, but they were quite happy to do that."
Morgan said that only one of the staff was not willing to share the information, but through that conversation any who were initially hesitant have gradually come around to the idea.
The company is using charts around the recycling centre showing how many had received the vaccine and how many had been booked and that everyone can see the numbers climbing.
For service centre representative Pauline Mataio getting the Pfizer vaccine was not really on her radar when she joined the company just two weeks ago.
"I wouldn't have got the vaccination because I had my doubts that it wasn't 100 per cent until I started working at Green Gorilla.," said Mataio. "They're essential workers and I thought not being vaccinated … everybody else has done it, why can't I?
"My sister-in-law got it on the same day that I got it done, so we both went together. That was really good because she helped me."
But for Eric Rikona, a driver with Green Gorilla, the idea of getting the shot was a no-brainer.
"I had seen it on the news and it mentioned the vaccinations," he said. "But at first for me it was like, I'm at work, how am I going to get time off to go and do this stuff and all the rest of it. But it was my manager said, 'Oh Eric, have you been vaccinated yet?' And that's what really prompted me to go get vaccinated."
Rikona had seen the benefits of the vaccine after seeing a report on the television news and asked his wife to go along on his second shot.
I was talking to her about it and she was a bit iffy," he said. "And I asked her 'Why's that?' She said 'something might go wrong.' And I said 'No, you'll be alright.'
The vaccination was over really quickly.
"When my wife came out of her vaccination she said, 'I don't know what I was afraid of,' he said.
"We're getting all our whanau on board – there's four of us in our bubble, me, my wife and our two daughters. So, they're going down for theirs ... the vaccination is the next step to keeping you safe."
Green Gorilla has ensured there are no obstacles to employees getting access to vaccines by providing access to information, time off to get a jab and even loan vehicles to access drive-through events.
"You can tell by our numbers (the reaction) has been very, very good," says Morgan. "We're at 93 per cent at least one vaccination and of those 45 per cent are fully vaccinated. Of the remaining people, we've got another 5 per cent that are intending to get vaccinated over this coming week."