K'aute Pasifika Trust chief executive Leaupepe Rachel Karalus fully supports NZME's The 90% Project, but wonders whether New Zealand can do even better.
"I think a 90 per cent vaccination rate is definitely achievable. I even wonder if it is a bit low and not aspirational enough ... It's not limited to 90 per cent, we can do more!
"What we also need is a 90 per cent vaccination rate for the Māori and Pasifika community."
Karalus is fully vaccinated and received her jabs months ago. "I got it for my family and the broader community. I didn't even feel the first [jab] and with the second I only had a bit of pain in my arm."
AdvertisementAdvertise with NZME.
She says she thinks everyone should go and get vaccinated. "I can 100 per cent recommend getting the jab - What are you waiting for?"
As a leader in the Pacific community, Karalus often has people coming to her with concerns. When speaking with the community, she says she is always trying to understand where their concern is coming from, for example, whether it is medical or religious.
"If their concern is about health, I tell them that the vaccine has been well researched and been used by millions of people. It wouldn't be in New Zealand without proper testing. I also say that people are more likely to die of an everyday activity that they do at home than from the vaccine.
"If their concern is religious, I tell them to pray about it, because if someone is to change their heart, it's their God. In any case, I tell them that before making a decision they should seek quality health information in their language."
With K'aute Pasifika being a registered vaccination clinic, Karalus says they have reached the "lower-hanging fruit" with their strategy already.
"Now we need to get to the high-hanging fruit, which are the younger people. And they don't care what I say, they want to see their own people, people they look up to, their peers, ministers and community group leaders get the jab."
To reach the younger generation, K'aute Pasifika created TikTok videos while hosting their vaccination drive-through clinic during the latest lockdown. "We are also going to do a TikTok competition between our offices on level one and level two of our building and let the viewers decide who did better."