Rally call for Samoans in Auckland to get vaccinated
Samoans in Auckland are being encouraged to get vaccinated to increase the vaccination rate for Samoans.
Three South Auckland drive-through vaccination events will be held over the next month for Samoans and locals, organised with the support of community leaders, Pasifika doctors and local healthcare centres.
A three-day event in Māngere Town Centre starts this Friday 24-26 September, 9am to 6pm. This will be followed by a large-scale Samoan-themed Rally Your Village event at the Vodafone Events Centre in Manukau from 1-4 October. Food parcels and school packs will be given out to families present on these days. A third vaccination event is planned for 11-13 October in Manurewa (location and time tbc).
Māngere, Papatoetoe, Manurewa, Manukau and Ōtara have all been identified as areas of high concern and vulnerability by the government, and Samoans make up the ethnic majority of Covid-19 cases in the outbreak.
“We are calling out to the Samoan community in Auckland, particularly South Auckland, to make the decision to get vaccinated to protect the health and wellbeing of their aiga (family), loved ones, ekalesia (church) and community,” says Senior GP Dr Sirovai Fuata’i.
“As we have seen with each Covid-19 outbreak, Pacific and Māori people are highly vulnerable to the virus given our social way of life, and many live with pre-existing health conditions. We must eliminate Covid from our communities by getting vaccinated.”
Dr Siro Fuata’i of Bader Drive Doctors, Southseas Healthcare and Pasefika Family Health Group are part of the Pacific consortium who have scaled up their Covid-19 response to ensure the South Auckland community have access to Covid-19 testing, vaccinations, and holistic wellbeing support.
Māngere-Ōtāhuhu Local Board Chairperson Lemauga Lydia Sosene strongly supports the call to increase the uptake of the vaccination rate of Samoans.
“Māngere-Ōtāhuhu local board area is home to the largest Samoan population in New Zealand. We want to ensure that when our children return to our local schools and community to their workplaces, that they do it safely, and that means making the decision to get vaccinated,” she says.
Ōtara-Papatoetoe Local Board Chairperson Apulu Reece Autagavaia says that there needs to be a stronger focus on engaging with Samoans to get vaccinated in his local board area from government officials.
“Over half of Ōtara’s population is Samoan. Ōtara also has the highest number and percentage of people who are unvaccinated, with Papatoetoe and Manukau not far behind. Covid-19 has hit Samoan and Pacific people the hardest, whether it’s been in the United States, Victoria or New South Wales. Here in New Zealand, we don’t have to be another statistic,” he says.
The three South Auckland drive-through events will be supported by pop-up vaccination sites and vaccination buses through to the end of the year.
“Pop-up vaccination sites and the new vaccination buses will also be rolled out across Auckland including West, Central and East Auckland so that our Samoan community in these areas get both jabs to protect their aiga.”
A Facebook page called Samoa Tutū Fa’atasi was launched earlier this month following the outbreak of the Delta variant in South Auckland. The page is primarily in Gagana Samoa and is gaining a growing following with Samoans in Auckland, Samoa and communities in Australia and USA.
Samoa Tutū Fa’atasi means ‘Samoa stand together’. Community stories and testimonies have been shared from Samoans in Auckland including Rugby League legend Ruben Wiki and former Manu Samoa international Tino Junior Poluleuligaga. It also features a popular ‘Sa’o pe Sese’ (True or False) segment with South Auckland based GP Dr Emma Ropati (Chang-Wai).
Other Pacific communities also have drive-through events planned following the success of the Tongan vaccination drive-through in Māngere. Find out more about the Niuean vaccination events here and the Cook Islands vaccination event here.