Thursday, December 9

Vaccination Centers Nationwide Ready for Super Saturday Vaxathon

An attempt to revive the community spirit, mischief and city-to-city competition of telethons of the past will be launched across the country this weekend with the Super Saturday Vaxathon.

Vaccination center sign

Over 120 additional vaccination sites will be open for tomorrow’s ‘Super Saturday’ event.
Photo: RNZ // Angus Dreaver

Vaccination clinics across the country will be open, as well as in emerging venues, with many offering gifts, entertainment, and food to try and boost Aotearoa’s vaccination rates.

The telethons of yesteryear were all about bringing the community together to raise funds and tomorrow’s Vaxathon Super Saturday strives to bring the community together to give a much-needed boost to vaccination numbers.

One of the event’s organizers, Tamati Sheppard-Wipiiti from the Health Ministry, said the event was inspired by sports days between marae, known as Pa Wars.

Sheppard-Wipiiti said they had been working on the idea for weeks.

They wanted to tap into people’s love of working together and competing with each other, he said.

The organizers would encourage people to stick to social distancing requirements, but would also create a fun atmosphere.

“We are at level 2 and we are at level 3. So we have had to issue guidelines on how to do that safely in terms of the vaxathon,” Sheppard-Wipiiti said.

“We’re trying to figure out how we do the conga at the Avalon TV studios five feet, six feet away. Yeah, it’s going to be challenged, but we have this.”

DHB, health providers, and community groups in small towns and large cities are helping to organize events.

Healthcare provider Tui Ora is hosting events in Waitara and Moturoa in New Plymouth.

Tui Ora communications chief Bianca Ruakere said people who get vaccinated help themselves and their community.

In Waitara there would be free coffee, free sizzling hot dogs and anyone who got vaccinated there would receive a $ 20 voucher for the New World, Ruakere said.

“They will also make donations to the Waitara Food Bank of $ 20 for each vaccine given at that clinic tomorrow. We also have some raffles for grocery baskets and youth ages 12-18 can enter the raffle to win a UE Boom.”

Tui Ora’s clinic in New Plymouth will have a live DJ, free bacon bread and fried egg giveaways and more $ 20 grocery vouchers.

East Christchurch has some of the lowest vaccination rates in Christchurch, and Eastgate Mall healthcare provider The Loft, Kate O’Grady, hopes to raise those numbers this weekend.

“As part of a 90 percent (vaccination drive) for Canterbury, the Canterbury Chamber of Commerce has donated a Rollick’in Gelato truck. We also have the Miter 10 BBQ on the way. We have the Black Thunders who are going to be at the Main car park. There’s a big bouncy castle. We have lots of prizes to give away. “

In Queenstown, people can get vaccinated while enjoying a view of Lake Wakatipu aboard the Earnslaw on Saturday.

Queenstown has one of the highest vaccination rates in the country, but Stephen England-Hall said they wanted to help encourage the few remaining.

“They will get on the ship. They will get vaccinated and then go up to the deck of the boardwalk where they can receive a free barista coffee from the Earnslaw crew while they are under observation.

“At the end of that, they have the opportunity to take a tour of the ship, if they wish, while it is moored. Then when they leave the ship, back at the dock, they can turn the wheel and be in to win some trips or prizes. “.

In Auckland, Super Saturday attractions will include TV and sports stars, Mr Whippy trucks, free coffee and food, cash prizes and costumes.

With Auckland still under alert level 3 restrictions and new cases popping up every day, the director of clinical operations for the Auckland vaccination program, Dr Sarah Hartnell, said that special care had been taken to ensure that events were insurance.

“Some of our focuses for our activities are always on the outside,” Hartnell said.

“So that’s the first thing we’ve made clear. Distancing is very, very important. Particularly if there is food and drink around, you really have to be careful and keep people in their bubbles and properly distanced.”

However, the events, entertainment, and temptations weren’t evenly distributed across the country, and Jason Herrick, president of Federated Farmer’s Southland, didn’t think it would be of much use to farmers.

It was a particularly busy time of year, he said.

“We are calving and mating, particularly on dairy farms, and there are a lot of sheep farmers calving right now, so you know, the arable guys have tried to put the crops in the ground. So time away from the farmers. It’s a precious time at this time of year, so they may feel the pressures from all angles about whether they can leave the farm to do it. “

Information on local events is available on the Ministry of Health website and local DHB websites.

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