Thursday, December 9

Covid-19 vaccination incentives were tested as numbers for the first dose drop

The daily number of people receiving their first dose of Covid vaccine has decreased.

MIQ and border workers receiving the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine.

Photo: Supplied / Ministry of Health

Four weeks ago, an average of 55,000 New Zealanders received their first injection each day.

Since then, the numbers have dropped dramatically; So far this week, only 13,000 first doses have been delivered per day, just a quarter of peak demand.

Almost one million eligible people have yet to receive a dose.

Auckland University Senior Marketing Professor Bodo Lang said that we are reaching the limits of the education phase and now is the time for a new part of implementation.

“I think we’ve reached a point where we’re starting to run out of what mass advertising and persuasion can accomplish. For the last few people to cross the line, you just need to use a different strategy, and that just needs to customize the benefits. to be vaccinated, “said Dr. Lang.

Dr. Lang said that for people who have not been personally affected by the disease, the threat from Covid can seem abstract. Doing things personal, he said, would boost people’s behavior.

“The incentive says, ‘You can’t participate in public life – restaurants, bars and all that kind of thing.’ If you can’t participate in that because you’re not twice vaccinated, I think it’s a strong incentive.”

A different approach than today is being tested in South Auckland.

Groceries, food parcels, and cakes will be distributed at the Papakura High School Vaccination Center and next week at James Cook High School.

Local Councilmember Daniel Newman said local businesses and organizations have donated more than $ 50,000 in assets.

“Whatever it takes to get people out of line. And if that means incentives, so be it,” Newman said.

Four out of five people 12 years and older have received at least one dose or are reserved for one.

Covid mathematician and modeler Dr. Michael Plank said the rates we are at now, even if everyone who received the first doses completed their course of two injections, would not allow for a normal life if we opened up.

“Whether it’s about gathering size limits, that kind of level 2 setting, or if we need something stricter than that, we would need something that impacts our daily lives to contain the spread of the virus in that kind of coverage. of vaccines “.

Vaccine scientist Helen Petousis-Harris said childhood vaccination coverage to prevent other diseases can be as high as 95 percent.

She said anti-hardline vaccines are perhaps only 5 percent of the population. The rest is at stake, if it reaches them and persuades them.

“You have to be a little more innovative. The people in that group who have not yet accessed the vaccine are really diverse.”

Petousis-Harris said it takes some creativity both with messaging (including the social video app TikTok) and removing barriers by offering, for example, gas vouchers to people who need them.

Others feel that all of their questions or concerns have not been answered and may need to speak with a healthcare professional.

But he said showing how a vaccine would be necessary to fully participate in public life would influence people.

“What changes people’s behavior is when you say ‘if you want to participate in something, you will have to get vaccinated’ and I don’t think we can escape those conversations.”

In July, France announced a vaccination test or a negative test would be needed to enter restaurants, bars, clubs and sports matches.

In the hours after that, more than a million people booked a vaccine, and now 88 percent of those 12 and older have received at least one injection.

The New Zealand government said a vaccine passport for overseas travel would be made available this year, but it is unclear how it can be used or required domestically.

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