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Thursday, 14 October 2021 10:25

Rural vaccination message from Damien O'Connor

Written by  Damien O'Connor
Agriculture Minister Damien O'Connor is encouraging those in rural communities to get vaccinated. Agriculture Minister Damien O'Connor is encouraging those in rural communities to get vaccinated.

OPINION: Rural New Zealanders and those working in the primary sector play a vital role in our response to COVID-19 and it's important they take the opportunity to get vaccinated against the virus, says Agriculture and Rural Communities Minister Damien O'Connor

I want to thank rural New Zealanders for their commitment and hard work since COVID-19 arrived on our shores. You’ve underpinned the strength of our economy. Your efforts have ensured that Kiwis are fed, and the steps you've taken to operate safely have helped prevent the spread of the virus.

There’s now another big way rural folks can help and that’s to get vaccinated as soon as possible. It will benefit those both near to you and far away as we begin to reconnect with the world.

To that end, we've been working closely with primary sector groups and organisations to boost the opportunities for people working and living in rural areas to access the vaccine.

This includes:

  • Bringing the vaccine to people in remote places via mobile pop-up and drive-through clinics, marae, community halls, medical practices and pharmacies.
  • Mobile clinics visiting farms.
  • Larger rural workplaces working with local DHBs and workplace vaccination providers to run convenient, on-site vaccination clinics
  • Companies allowing staff to attend off-site clinics during paid working hours.
  • Workplace incentives and prizes to encourage staff to get vaccinated.
  • Sector organisations assisting busy farmers to encourage their staff to get vaccinated.
  • Improving the telephone booking service for rural communities with poor internet access.

You can find out about where to get a vaccine in your area by phoning 0800 28 29 26 or visiting the websites BookMyVaccine.nz or Healthpoint.co.nz.

The COVID-19 vaccine is safe and it’s free.

If you’re an employer there’s a new business toolkit on www.covid-19.govt.nz, which provides comprehensive information on how workplaces can support their staff, suppliers and customers get vaccinated.

The way to stop the Delta variant in its tracks is for people to be vaccinated.

Simply, the more people who are vaccinated the more opportunity we have ahead of us.

Before taking the next steps in opening up to the world, we’re aiming to get our vaccination rate as high as possible. We reckon above 90 per cent is totally doable. We’ve all got an important role in making this happen.

As I write, over 58 per cent of our eligible population is fully vaccinated, with around 82 per cent having had at least one shot. Since Delta arrived, the rate of vaccination in New Zealand has been among the fastest in the world. We are well on track to having every eligible person fully vaccinated by the end of the year.

Let’s do our bit and maintain the momentum.

And finally, if you think there are any barriers to rural people accessing their vaccinations, then please do let me know. You can email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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