Pacific drive-thru to build on Super-Saturday success

A massive ‘shout-out’ to everyone who rolled up their sleeves to get vaccinated on Super Saturday which smashed vaccination records!

Aotearoa set a new record for daily Covid-19 vaccinations, with 130,002 doses administered. Auckland had its biggest ever vaccination day, and it was also the biggest day so far for Māori vaccinations. The Pasifika community also turned out in great numbers. 

“Super Saturday has been a shot in the arm for the final stage of our Covid-19 vaccination programme and we now need to finish the job to protect all New Zealanders from the virus,” said Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield. “I want to give a huge thanks to every eligible New Zealander who stepped up … as well as to the hundreds of health providers, businesses, workplaces and community organisations who’ve pulled out all the stops as part of the nationwide push for vaccination.” 

Auckland now has 89% of its eligible people vaccinated with at least 1 dose. For more info and stats click HERE.

Building on the massive success of Super Saturday the Tongan community is delighted to announce that a repeat of the successful Malu’i Ma’a Tonga – Get Protected for Tonga mass vaccination drive-thru will be held from Oct 21-23. (See poster)

Once again, this special pop-up is a collaborative effort involving Pacific health providers – The Fono and Tonga Health Society, the Tongan Inter-Faith Network of Aotearoa, community leaders, and NHRCC.

Nearly 4000 jabs were delivered at the September drive-thru, and more than 90% were first doses. With young people most affected in the current Delta outbreak, it was fantastic to see 59% of jabs go to under 35s. Participants in September’s event are now due their second doses. And that’s a key focus of this week’s pop-up. However, anyone who hasn’t had the time or opportunity to get their first jab is also encouraged to come along.

‘You can expect a Tongan village-style atmosphere,’ says Sione Tuitahi from the Tongan Inter-Faith Network and Executive Director of HPF. ‘So, come home, celebrate our Tongan culture, and keep everyone safe by getting vaccinated.’

According to Dr Glenn Doherty, CEO of the Tongan Health Society, Pacific vaccination rates have improved across the country and within specific communities.

Super Saturday was a vital shot in the arm for the Pacific Island vaccination drive. But there’s still plenty of work to be done, he says.

The Tongan community is currently lagging behind other Pacific Island groups in vaccine uptake.

Tevita Funaki, CEO of The Fono, agrees that sustained effort is needed.

Sione Tu’itahi at the Tongan MMT village in September, with the CEO of The Fono Tevita Funaki and the Rev Tevita Finau, Chair of Tongan Interfaith Leadership Network.)

‘The Tonganpeople-for-Tongan-people approach is a proven model for reaching our communities,’ says Mr Funaki. ‘We hope this repeat pop-up will be just as successful with even more jabs administered. We have to keep the momentum going.

Mr Funaki says the community partnership model behind the drive-thru is a great way to reach young Tongans who, for a variety of complex reasons, haven’t yet had their first dose.

He has a simple message for South Auckland’s Tongan and Pacific communities: ‘Get protected. Do it for you, your whānau and the wider community.’