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Waikato Herald - 2021-10-15

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A super opportunity to get summer humming

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With summer on the horizon, Waikato towns are gearing up for Super Saturday tomorrow, the Government’s national day of action to get 90 per cent of Kiwis vaccinated in time for the Christmas break. There will be lots of special events throughout the region encouraging everyone to get the jab, including prize draws, pop-up centres, drivethroughs, extended hours, food, music and entertainment. There will be 65 sites across the region where people can drop in without a booking and get vaccinated on the spot. Details of activities in Waikato can be found on the Waikato DHB website and Facebook page. Currently, 77 per cent of the Waikato population have received their first dose and 55 per cent are fully vaccinated. Waikato DHB engagement manager Gemma Morgan says despite the region staying in alert level 3, the DHB was still gearing up for Saturday with safety measures like health screenings, distancing and masks in place. Waikato Covid-19 vaccination programme lead Maree Munro says Super Saturday is a chance for the whole community to put their combined weight behind the vaccination effort. “It should reduce the need for lockdowns and give us more opportunity to get out and about.” Munro says there was a real buzz in the community around Super Saturday with schools, marae and churches hosting vaccination clinics, community leaders and local groups helping with promotion, and businesses offering prizes and free food. Local radio stations also jumped on board to help encourage people along tomorrow. Morgan says the key message the DHB wants to get out is that the day is not only about getting the jab. “. . . day is a great opportunity to come in for a no-judgment chat, without any pressure of getting vaccinated.” Hamilton West MP Dr Gaurav Sharma as a former GP is fully behind Super Saturday and will even be putting his white coat on again to give the vaccinators a hand. “I heard [deputy leader of the National Party] Dr Shane Reti will be doing vaccinations in Whanga¯rei for Super Saturday, so I thought it’s a good idea that I get in there too. I will be vaccinating at my former practice Avalon Medical and intend to pop in to some other vaccination clinics to help as well.” Hamilton East MP Jamie Strange says he hopes to see a spike in numbers of vaccinated people after tomorrow. ““The more people are vaccinated, the faster we can move back to normal — which is what we all want.” Because of level 3, he says his options of going out and about are limited. “So we will be active on social media and keep phone calling the community like we have been doing recently. We ring people up and ask if they need support and point them in the right direction.” Hamilton Mayor Paula Southgate says she is fully supporting Saturday and very pleased to see her city climbing up the ranks from place 12 to place seven in the national top vaccinated towns ranking. “But we need to push forward. My challenge is to make Hamilton the

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