This week the 100,000th vaccination has been delivered in the Lakes District Health Board rohe.
This is a huge collaborative achievement and one that should be celebrated.
I want to thank those in our rohe who have done their part in protecting their whānau, communities and themselves. I know for some this decision wasn't taken lightly but their actions in being vaccinated have helped strengthen our defence in keeping our vulnerable and loved ones safe in this Covid Delta climate.
We still have some way to go to be able to say we are in the best position to be able to cope and reduce the impact of this very infectious and very dangerous virus if it gets into our communities.
I applaud the NZME initiative, which commenced last week and is targeting vaccination rates for our communities in excess of 90 per cent. Kia Kaha!
I would like to acknowledge the significant effort and support the DHB has received from many groups within our region to get what is undoubtedly the biggest vaccination programme undertaken in Aotearoa across the line.
Without them, the 100,000th vaccination milestone would not have been achieved.
It has been truly amazing to see the amount of support we have received from across our rohe from individuals, councils, health service providers, other social sector organisations, iwi, our own staff and a number of other parties.
A huge thanks to the Te Arawa Covid-19 Hub, Tuwharetoa Health Charitable Trust, Pinnacle Midlands Health Network and its member GP practices, Pihanga Health, Rotorua and Taupō District Councils, Te Roopū Hauora o Te Arawa, Te Arawa Whānau Ora, Te Kapua Whakapipi (office of Ta Tumu Te Heuheu), RAPHS and its member GP practices, Rotorua Pacific Islands Development Charitable Trust and Pasifika community, Māori Health Providers, Ngāti Pikiao Health Services, Korowai Aroha, Rotorua and Taupō Civil Defence, Reporoa College, Whakarongorau, Mangakino Health Services, Ngāti Tahu – Ngāti Whaoa Runanga Trust, St John Ambulance, our community pharmacists and many, many others who have been vital in providing drive-throughs, marae-based clinics, mobile clinics in rural areas and our two immunisation hubs.
Lastly, a big thank you to the DHB nurses, administrators and pharmacy staff who worked tirelessly to ensure we maximise access to and delivery of the vaccination programme.
Many of us are too young to remember a time when pandemics such as the Spanish flu, smallpox and polio were rampant in Aotearoa.
The country, already reeling from the casualties of the First World War, saw thousands die, with Māori, in particular, suffering heavy losses.
Little is heard of these diseases now because, as a collective, a generation of New Zealanders decided to protect the next one by being vaccinated.
We are in that same position today.
The choice we make now will have an impact on our children, grandchildren and the generation that follows.
Prevention through vaccinations has been proven to work. It is about building a safer future so that they may one day live in a world where Covid-19 is read about in history books, rather than every day in the newspapers.
I strongly encourage everyone to be vaccinated and encourage those who may not have decided to book today and be a part of a strong community response to fight Covid-19 in our rohe.
- Nick Saville-Wood is the chief executive of Lakes District Health Board.