In an approach to fight the challenges of vaccine hesitancy and misinformation, the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (DPMC) has teamed up with The Spinoff's content studio Daylight Creative to create an animated series about the Covid vaccination.
The Covid-19 vaccination rollout is New Zealand's first nationwide one in decades, so the new eight-episode series called NZ Vaccine Facts aims to empower people to make a well-informed decision about getting the jab.
The series answers questions such as what a virus is, how vaccines work, why virus variants develop, and what mRNA technology means.
Daylight Creative says NZ Vaccine Facts features eight characters from a diverse mix of ages, genders, ethnicities, and abilities, to reflect the diverse community of Aotearoa's team of 5 million. They explain the dense microbiological science of the virus in a human and irreverently New Zealand way.
Group creative director Toby Morris says: "Character-led animation was the perfect way to create a group of relatable, everyday characters who act and speak in a distinctly Kiwi way, using visual metaphors to explain the science."
Episode one answers the question of how Aotearoa New Zealand responded to the Covid-19 pandemic and why getting vaccinated is an important tool to protect ourselves against the virus.
Episode two is about what a virus is and how vaccines work, and episode three explains what the mRNA vaccine is.
Episode four answers the widely discussed question whether the Pfizer vaccine still works and protects against possible new variants of the virus.
The fifth episode is about whether vaccines are safe considering the short production time, and episode six explains the benefits of the vaccine.
Episode seven is about booking in for the vaccine and possible side effects, and episode eight covers what else we can do to protect ourselves and others.
Meanwhile, Ruapehu District Mayor Don Cameron is urging more people to get vaccinated. The district at present has Waikato's second-lowest vaccination rate with 83.1 per cent of residents having had their first jab.
"Unfortunately, too many people are still blissfully unaware, or in denial, of just how deadly the Covid-19 virus is. Ruapehu's vaccination rates are nowhere near where they need to be to protect our most vulnerable, notably our Māori community, who are disproportionately disadvantaged due to a number of factors," Cameron says.
He says the best and most effective thing everyone can do to protect one another is to get vaccinated.
"The evidence from overseas is clear that the impact of Covid-19 on unvaccinated populations is devastating. With [the virus] on our doorstep, the time for delaying getting vaccinated for any reason is well and truly up. I implore the unvaccinated to start seeing Covid as the very real threat that it is, and do whatever is necessary to get vaccinated immediately."