‘I believe in this campaign'
Iremember September 27 when I got my second dose of the Covid vaccination in O¯ taki. My left arm was sore for two days and I felt slightly under the weather for 48 hours. Apart from that I was, like they say, honkydory. Even more than the personal feeling that I now had better protection from the worse ravages of Covid there was that feeling of doing something greater than just an act of self-preservation. If I contacted the virus I know that I have a very good chance of avoiding ending up in hospital and taking up an ICU bed needed for others. It’s a feeling I always get when I’m out with others planting trees at native restoration projects. This psychological swim in the pool of community wellbeing. Remember those teddy bears in the windows during that first Covid wave last year. As communities across the country and as a nation we did it that last time. Remember that, to date, no matter what the criticism, our total death toll from this deadly virus so far stands at just 29. A remarkable achievement. I compare this to the nightmare scenes from hell that unfolded in my ancestral homeland of India. The challenge this time has mutated, just as the virus has, but we are still the same people. Our defence this time is getting everyone who is eligible and able to be vaccinated. There is another personal reason why I believe in this vaccination campaign. I remember September 28 when just over 3000 MIQ spots were open for Kiwis to come home. My eldest son Ra in Melbourne was one of 31,000 desperate Kiwis across the globe wanting to return home. He was lucky. The news was so . . . so indescribably sweet but then there was a bitterness. Over the previous weeks, till now, I have read the painful stories of so many Kiwis in terrible family situations unable to come home. One of the solutions is the fact that if we can achieve a very high rate of vaccination we can start reducing the border restrictions. Kiwis can exercise their sovereign right to come home to their families and friends and not be random digits in a lottery. We can do this. Some facts as we head towards Super Saturday. As of October 7 across Aotearoa New Zealand 81 per cent of the eligible population (12+) had had their first dose, with 53 per cent having had their second. An ethnic breakdown shows: Asians at 96.7 per cent, European at 82 per cent, Pacifica at 75 per cent, Ma¯ ori at 59 per cent. Ka¯ piti resident and retired Professor of Health Policy and Management Victoria University Dr J. Cumming crunched the MOH data and noted that Kapiti Coast appears to be doing as well as the rest of the country. “The patterns of vaccination follows the rollout by age groups, so that younger people have lower rates. However, as Ma¯ ori and Pacific peoples are more likely to have a range of health conditions at younger ages, they are more at risk,” said Dr Cumming, lead researcher of the Ka¯ piti Health Advisory Group. She noted that MidCentral DHB rates are lower than Capital and Coast DHB and may partly explain why communities under MidCentral have lower rates. Data from across the country have shown that poorer and brown communities, as in Auckland, have shown higher infection levels and lower vaccination rates. This seems to be true of Ka¯ piti also. The deprivation index measured as NZDep ranges from NZDep 1 being least deprived to NZDep 10 being most deprived. Using this as a gauge the suburb with the lowest first dose under CCDHB in Ka¯ piti is Paraparaumu East with 73.6 per cent and this community has a NZDep level of 7. For our Ka¯ piti communities under MidCentral the lowest are Otaki Beach at 69.9 per cent and it has a NZDep level of 9. The next lowest is O¯ taki at 71.2 per cent which also has a NZDep level of 9. Ethnic breakdown of the data shows Ma¯ ori having very low levels of vaccinations. Deputy mayor Janet Halborow and I will be visiting vaccination centres this Saturday in Paraparumu, Waikanae and Otaki. ¯ Tell your family, friends and colleagues to join this movement this Saturday and beyond.