Help to save lives, protect community
With 75 Covid-19 cases in Auckland now that are yet to be linked to this Delta outbreak, it is clear there is significant undetected community transmission and a surge in case numbers is on the way, along with heightened risk of more leakage outside the region.
Government plans announced yesterday for Covid-19 cases to isolate at home in the near future — to avoid losing more spaces in managed isolation facilities — and scenario planning for hospitals to deal with a potential surge of Covid patients needing ICU care, are yet more indications there is likely to be very limited time for communities nationwide to protect themselves from this virus and the disease it causes, by lifting vaccination rates.
It has been notable that a case being announced in a community, or the rumour of one, prompts queues to form at vaccination centres. With full vaccination taking more than a month from first dose, the arrival of Covid-19 is not the best time to start getting vaccinated; right now is the best time, if you have yet to receive a first dose.
People who remain hesitant need to receive quality information, delivered appropriately, about the safety and efficacy of this vaccine.
Communication strategies to do this are changing to better meet the needs of communities where there is lower vaccine uptake and greater hesitancy. This applies particularly to Maori, who only lately have been being prioritised in the national vaccination rollout. This has allowed time for misinformation to join force with a lack of trust in government and authority, creating a dangerous situation. Our health services need the support of an all-of-community response; from iwi and hapu through to whanau, friends and workmates encouraging people to get informed, and protect themselves and others.
Peer-reviewed studies show that being vaccinated reduces your chance of getting seriously ill from Delta by 10 times, and of dying by 11 times. It also provides a level of protection against both catching and passing on the virus, though it is less effective in this regard than it was for earlier variants of Covid-19.
The need to boost vaccination rates is urgent in our region where about 30 percent of eligible people are yet to get a first dose, rising to 41 percent for Maori — who are also proportionately more vulnerable to serious illness as well as rapid transmission through communities.
People who are anti-vaccination need to stop promoting their dangerous views. They have a right to choose for themselves, but not to endanger others.