A major national campaign aimed at getting 90 per cent of eligible New Zealanders vaccinated by Christmas has been launched by NZME media titles, and the Rotorua Multicultural Council is getting behind the project.
The 90% Project has been rolled out across the country, including Rotorua, to encourage New Zealanders to get the jab, along with information on how to get vaccinated and ways to encourage others to join.
The 90% Project is being led by the NZ Herald, Rotorua Daily Post, Bay of Plenty Times, Newstalk ZB, Northern Advocate, Hawke's Bay Today, Whanganui Chronicle and NZME's community papers, including the Rotorua Weekender.
Lakes District Health Board chief operating officer Alan Wilson says nearly 85,000 people would need their jabs to have 90 per cent of eligible people in the Lakes district fully vaccinated.
The campaign was launched a day after University of Canterbury modeller Professor Michael Plank was reported as saying that reaching a 90 per cent vaccination target was important to save lives and for the capacity of hospitals.
''The modelling shows that if vaccination rates are in the 70s or low 80s in the eligible population, a large-scale outbreak could still threaten our health service capacity and lead to tens of thousands of hospitalisations and thousands of deaths.
''If we can get into the 90s, the threat will be much smaller and could be limited to a more manageable number of hospitalisations with some additional public health measures."
Rotorua Multicultural Council president Margriet Theron says on the Multicultural Rotorua Facebook page they update information about the Covid-19 vaccination campaign.
Government funding is available for projects that will support ethnic communities to communicate the vaccination message, and messages about Covid vaccinations are available in 38 languages, she says.
There is a link to the website with these messages on the Multicultural Rotorua Facebook page.
The Multicultural Council has also provided health board representatives with contact details of the leaders of local ethnic organisations so they could talk to them.
"I think if people have reasons for hesitation, such as they don't like needles or think it has been developed too fast, we need to overcome those and look at it for community benefit. There are vulnerable groups in our community."
She says although there is information available on websites for ethnic communities, it's not the same as getting the messages across in a format or from a person that these communities trust.
"If people are not aware of the information in their own language there can be a communication gap, and people are also reliant on leaders in the ethnic communities to communicate with the people in their associations or churches or wherever those communities meet."
Margriet says she been vaccinated early on because of her work as an interpreter.
NZME Bay of Plenty regional editor Scott Inglis says the campaign is vital for the region and the rest of New Zealand.
''It is now very clear that vaccinations are critical for New Zealand to move forward so we can manage this tricky and dangerous virus. That's why the Rotorua Daily Post and our sister newsrooms are right behind this,'' he says.
''We will use every platform and channel available to get this message out and keep it in the public eye. We need people getting their jabs and encouraging others to do the same.''
Where to get vaccinated
- The Rotorua Covid-19 Immunisation Hub is in Central Mall. Anyone eligible can access it. Opening hours are 8.30am to 4.30pm, Tuesday to Saturday.
- Book online at bookmyvaccine.nz or call 0800 28 29 26.
- Check healthpoint.co.nz for more information.
- Te Arawa also runs drive-through vaccination clinics. Find out more at healthpoint.co.nz