New Zealand needs to get vaccinated now to beat Delta - and that's why NZME has launched The 90% Project. We want to help 90 per cent of Kiwis to get vaccinated to save lives and reopen our country to the world.
Today, Auckland Mayor Phil Goff explains why he's backing The 90% Project and his hopes for a summer of freedom for Tāmaki Makaurau.
This summer we could be hanging out with whānau, catching up with friends, and making the most of Auckland's beaches and beautiful natural environment.
It's a much better scenario than staying at home in our bubbles, locked down at level 4, and at risk of a disease that may put you or your family in hospital.
The first option is one we all crave. To help achieve it, we need to get as many Aucklanders vaccinated as possible, as soon as possible. Ninety per cent of the eligible population is a good target, which is why I support the New Zealand Herald's 90% Project. If we can get higher than 90 per cent, that's even better.
Yesterday, we hit the target of 80 per cent of Aucklanders having had at least one dose, with more than half of that number becoming fully vaccinated. More than 20,000 people a day have been getting immunised, but more than 200,000 still need to book or get their first vaccination.
If you haven't had your injection yet, please go out and do it. Today is the best time and the community vaccination hubs and drive-through centres don't require a booking and with luck you'll be in and out in 30 minutes. You still have a role to play if you've already been vaccinated. Talk to unvaccinated friends and family members and find out what's holding them back.
It's free, it's readily available and it's safe. Hundreds of millions of people around the world have been safely vaccinated.
New Zealand did the right thing in putting in place stringent measures to stop the incursion of Covid-19 into our community. We did better than almost any other country. However, new variants of Covid, currently Delta, make it really hard to stop community transmission and we can't continue indefinitely closing down our economy to stop its spread. The human and financial costs are huge. And sooner or later we will have to open up again to the world.
We will continue to make every effort as a community to suppress the virus and to keep it out. But the best guarantee of our future safety is to have as many people vaccinated as possible.
While being fully vaccinated does not guarantee you won't contract the virus, vaccination provides a high degree of protection against severe illness, hospitalisation and death. The effectiveness of two doses of the Pfizer vaccine against hospitalisation due to delta infection is about 96 per cent — extremely good odds.
Perhaps most importantly, getting vaccinated helps protect other people in our community, including older people and people with underlying health conditions, who are more at risk from Covid-19. Even if you're prepared to gamble with your own life and health by remaining unvaccinated, do you want to take the chance that your decision will harm your whānau, your workmates, or your friends who may be immunocompromised?
Since the pandemic started, Aucklanders have done an incredible job of coming together to keep each other safe. It's been tough, but it has been worth it. Compared to locking down for another month or longer, getting vaccinated is easy. So, let's all step up, get vaccinated, and look forward to a summer of freedom.