Victoria Short: To All My Pasifika Friends And Family, Get Vaccinated, Now
To all my Pasifika friends and family, get vaccinated, now.
Victoria Short, Deputy Chair of the Hibiscus and Bays Local Board is calling on all Pasifika people to get vaccinated now. "If you are waiting for your personalised invitation to get vaccinated, you might be waiting forever, as it may never come. The time to get vaccinated is right now." Short is from the small pacific island nation of Kiribati and has seen first-hand how delta has affected island families after it swept through the Pasifika community in Warkworth, north of Auckland.
"The current delta outbreak is disproportionally affecting our Pasifika community, who are vaccinating at a much slower rate than most other ethnicity groups," Short says. "Complex family and social structures, such as our Pasifika people making up a significant portion of our essential work-force, on average having larger households which are often multi-generational, and us being such a social vibrant people are all ingredients which allows COVID to thrive and spread."
Short herself is now fully vaccinated and is an active Pasifika community representative in the COVID19 response planning lead by the Ministry of Pacific People and the Ministry of Health.
"Wonderful work has been achieved by MPP [Ministry of Pacific People] in delivering culturally appropriate messaging to our community on the need for coming forward for a vaccination. Also, I have received fantastic feedback from numerous families in Pasifika community regarding the vaccination clinics, with someone even telling me, it was like going back to the islands for half-hour."
The problem however is that even with the significant resources and planning that has gone into the vaccine rollout programme, Pacific People are still one of the lowest vaccinated ethnic groups in New Zealand.
"If you haven’t been vaccinated yet, don’t wait a day longer. There are drive-through vaccination centres, clinics and pharmacies throughout the country ready and waiting to stick the needle in your arm. Current drive-through vaccination centres in Auckland also don’t require a booking and have more than enough supplies to accommodate everyone. We [Pacific People] are a smart, kind, generous, hard-working people, and now is the time to demonstrate this to the rest of New Zealand through our collective action," Short proclaims. "When you take yourself to get vaccinated, make sure you load up the car with everyone else in your bubble over 12 years old, whether they are documented or not. The best thing we can do for ourselves, our community and New Zealand right now is to get vaccinated."
"It is up to us to take action for our health and the health of the loved ones around us."
About Victoria Short
Victoria is the Deputy Chair of the Hibiscus and Bays Local Board. She is a 30-year-old mother with 2 young children, the only elected independent member on the Hibiscus and Bays Local Board, and is the first person of Kiribati descent to hold an elected political position in New Zealand.