Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air
With the country in the red traffic light setting and the highly infectious Omicron variant in the community, Pacific People’s minister Aupito William Sio has a simple message.
“Stay safe, get vaccinated, get your booster shot. Don’t wait.”
The call comes as more cases of Omicron are detected in the community and it’s the main reason Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern moved the country into the red traffic light setting on Sunday night.
Aupito says, given the change, Pasifika people should prioritize getting their vaccinations up to date – booster shots for those who are eligible and for children aged 5 – 11 years old.
“I’m calling upon our pacific caregivers, parents, partners and parishioners to get everyone vaccinated,” the minister says.
“Last week we began our roll out of getting our children from 5 -11 to receive their vaccinations and we need to begin encouraging our people to get vaccinated within our families, especially our children.”
Aupito says those who have concerns about getting their young ones vaccinated need only look at the significant numbers of children coming out of Australia who’ve been successfully vaccinated.
“Don’t wait, don’t hesitate. We need to continue to get 5 years old vaccinated,” he says.
So far, people who’ve had their second covid shots over four months ago are eligible to receive a booster shot. They can be booked online through the book my vaccine portal or just turn up to a drive-through vaccination centre.
Meanwhile Aupito says people should be mindful of the symptoms of a covid illness which includes headaches and runny noses.
“If someone in your household is not feeling well, please get them tested right away. Isolate them and contact your local GP,” he says.
“Under red light restrictions, please follow the Ministry of Health guidelines. Scan in, show a vaccination pass. Wear a mask with an emphasis on wearing your masks when going out into public spaces or when traveling for work.”
And finally, on the matter of panic buying, the minister says there’s no need to rush out and “ravage” the shopping aisles.
“The supermarkets will continue to be stocked like the lockdowns before. There is no need to behave that way and to cause a panic. Let’s plan ahead.”