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Vaccination drive for Auckland’s Fiji communities set to launch next week

Fijian vaccination drive in Auckland

A vaccination drive through for Auckland’s Fiji communities will launch next week in time for Fijian Language Week 2021.

The vaccination drive, christened ‘Vaxx for Champs’, runs from 7-9 October at Māngere Centre Park, South Auckland.

The three-day event will operate from 8:30am to 4:00pm, and everyone above the age of 12 is welcome to receive their first or second dose. Appointments are not necessary, so feel free to show up and follow safety protocols.

Nacanieli Yalimaiwai, who leads the Fijian Leaders Forum Aotearoa and is a Governance Board Member of The Fono, acknowledges the advantages of ethnic-specific vaccination drives.

“The drive-through event helps to bring the vaccine directly to our communities, to boost our vaccination rates and also help overcome barriers for those in our communities who are most vulnerable.”

The Vaxx for Champs initiative has been a discussion of interest among the Fijian Leaders Forum, receiving support from the community.

“Our community and church leaders in Auckland have been really supportive of this drive. Our very own Dr Api Talemaitoga has been instrumental in advocating for vaccination of our Pacific communities,” Yalimaiwai says.

To ensure a safe and seamless experience for the Fijian families, there will be more than 20 Fijian nurses on site.

“The Fono employs a good number of our Fijian staff. Members of our Fijian Nursing Association led by Abel Smith will be helping support the Fono over the three days,” Yalimaiwai says.

“There is excitement in our community because next week is also Fijian Language Week in Aotearoa, and it is also when we have our annual Fiji independence celebrations. So it will be a triple celebration really – we celebrate getting vaccinated to help protect our community to help eliminate this virus, we celebrate our Fijian Language Week, and we celebrate Fiji Day.”

While the vaccination event is primarily for Fiji and Rotuman families, anyone of any ethnicity in Aotearoa is welcome.

The Vaxx for Champs drive-through event was made in partnership with The Fono, Ministry of Health, Auckland Council, Pasifika Futures, and Pacific Media Network.

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