Sunday, November 28

Call to leverage ‘trusting relationships’ to motivate the unvaccinated

Health authorities warn that vaccination rates are not high enough to loosen restrictions as they go after half a million unvaccinated people.

The new Covid 19 vaccination facility in South Auckland

More than 130,000 doses of the vaccine were administered during the Vaxathon, but experts say a lot of work remains to be done.
Photo: RNZ / Simon Rogers

Auckland is one step away from the 90 percent vaccination mark, but some say there is much more to be done.

More than 130,000 doses of the Covid-19 vaccine were administered during Saturday’s Vaxathon, but vaccinologist Helen Petousis-Harris said it was still not enough.

He said the momentum must continue.

“You have to keep connecting those community leaders, whether it’s in the gang or in the commune or in a church, all those leaders with the local GPS and other health leaders and you have to provide the resources they need, whatever they need, because those are the voices we need.

“Keep up the scope, door-to-door stuff. I know it’s hard work, but if that’s what it takes, you have to do it.”

Dr. Colin Tukuitonga

Dr. Colin Tukuitonga
Photo: PMA

Pasifika’s health leader, Colin Tukuitonga, agrees. He was one of three invited speakers at a vaccination hui hosted by Mongrel Mob Kingdom in Huntly over the weekend.

Dozens of members and associates of the Mongrel Mob, Black Power and Tribal Huk gangs attended the event.

Dr Tukuitonga, who is also an associate professor of public health at the University of Auckland, said it mattered who the information came from.

“I think the people who get the message out are important. We wouldn’t have gotten anywhere unless Sonny Fatupaito, the head of the chapter, invited us in and invited the other gangs.

“Obviously he has credibility with those groups and the same with Maori communities: it is time to enable, support and give resources to Maori leaders and providers.”

Tukuitonga said a one-size-fits-all approach didn’t work.

“Some people take their time to process these things,” he said.

“There is a group of people who just want their questions answered. Some of the attendees left and were vaccinated immediately after the question and answer session and some will undoubtedly continue to process the information.”

The Ōtara South Seas Healthcare mass vaccination event earlier this month saw more than 7,000 vaccines administered to Pasifika in six days.

Project leader Shana Malio-Satele said the youth-led “Rally Your Village” event was a great success because it pulled on community ties.

“We invited churches, sports clubs, and other charity groups to register their village. And it was up to those groups to have two coordinators to mobilize and activate the members of the networks to come to the event and in return receive some amazing, good – intentional group incentives that ensured it was fun, different, and mobilized the community with trusting relationships. “

Petousis-Harris said health authorities should meet people where they were, even if that was on Facebook.

“You have to go where they are, and with the trusted voices, I could be a community leader, but there are also a lot of influencers on these platforms. I could be working with them, helping them equip them to start giving messages and also to provide information “.

Malio-Satele said local leaders had already invested in their communities, and that could be used.

“Let the community experts be the ones to lead, because at the end of the day, long after things leave the community, because we know we have reached vaccination rates, it is the community that is left here to be trusted. and the leaders. ” “

He said it was crucial to reaching the half million eligible New Zealanders who had not yet received their first dose.

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