Last week, I joined MP Dr. Emily Henderson in visiting some of our local businesses, discussing vaccinations and asking permission to place pro-vaccination posters in their shop windows.
What we discovered was a resilient, positive, future-focused network of business owners and staff, the majority of whom were not only partially or fully vaccinated themselves, but who were proactively urging their business contacts to follow suit. I was impressed with the level of responsibility and personal ownership we experienced in our CBD and wider afield.
Even in the face of rolling lockdowns, reduced customer capacity and supply issues, these business owners and staff were committed to doing everything they could to protect Northlanders from the Delta variant of COVID-19. I felt a surge of pride in our District, knowing that in the face of uncertainty and adversity, we still focus on looking out for each other.
Ka pai Te Tai Tokerau campaign
The Northland District Health Board has summed it up nicely in their latest campaign ‘Ka pai Te Tai Tokerau’. This campaign offers the chance to win one of more than 500 prizes just for getting your free vaccination, with everything from the latest Apple iPhones, ebikes, travel vouchers, and gift cards at popular local retailers such as Farmers, Hunting and Fishing, Pak’n’Save, Countdown, Kmart, The Warehouse, Mitre 10, Four Square, Bunnings, and many more.
To enter, you just need to have both your vaccinations before 10 December 2021 – which will hopefully give us greater freedom over the summer months, and a safer local community for all.
Restrictions and lockdowns
Today, we will find out if we are to stay in the level 3 lockdown, declared for the region on Friday evening. My thoughts on hearing of the level rise immediately went to the economic and social impacts if we stay too long at level 3 or, worse, 4 lockdown. How will our community cope? How will our business owners, service providers, essential workers and remote communities manage with another ongoing round of restrictions on their economic and social freedoms?
I know of many (including myself) who are already struggling with the human toll of being cut off from the rest of New Zealand, not being able to connect with family and friends, missing important life events. It’s the painful consequence of keeping Te Tai Tokerau safe, and it’s up to us to take all steps possible so that the borders can reopen as soon as possible.
Have conversations about vaccination
I encourage you all to have courageous conversations with your family and friends about getting vaccinated. We are also influencers for our young people, and it’s our responsibility to encourage them to protect themselves and their families and wider community through making an informed choice about the COVID-19 vaccination.
There is plenty of research available for those who want to learn more, so please take the time to educate yourself and those around you. Here are some good places to start:
The future safety of our entire community comes down to each and every one of us: play your part, do your research, and get vaccinated.
Thank you to all who have already chosen to be vaccinated.
Together we are uniting against COVID-19.