Pacific ministers get Covid-19 vaccination, encourage church members

From Checkpoint, 5:47 pm on 4 May 2021

Pacific church ministers are stepping up to get their Covid-19 vaccine, and are encouraging their members to follow suit. 

More than 100 people lined up for their vaccine in Ōtara today, hoping to pave the way in their communities.

- Video by Nick Monro

Nine church leaders and their families got the jab at the Southseas Ōtara vaccination clinic set up in the old Manukau Institute tech building. 

The group was from the Ekalesia Faapotopotoga Kerisiano Samoa Maungakiekie Synod. 

They were hoping to lead by example, encouraging members of their community to book in to get their injection.  

Their vaccinations coincided with invitations for older Māori and Pasifika people in Auckland and their households to get their vaccinations. 

People living in South Auckland aged 65 and over were also encouraged to come forward. 

Auckland parish church minister Rev Auvaa Eneliko was one of those in the queue and said the ministers should be the ones to lead because otherwise people would not follow. 

Minister Faaletaua was waiting too, and said it was vital the Pasifika community got good, clear information.

"A good example with the measles in Samoa, I think people still have that little bit of fear and doubt. It's great to see other people lead by example, come out and do what needs to be done." 

Faaletaua said people should not be worried about getting the vaccine. 

"They shouldn't be worried, it's just like getting any other vaccine at the GP," said Eneliko said. 

Reverend Dr Featunai Liuaana was confident church leaders would inspire others to follow their example. 

"To lead this and be the example and role model and say to our church people 'we've done, I'm pretty sure you can all do it'."

Despite their best efforts, Liuaana said there was still anxiety in the community because of the misinformation that was circulating. 

"A lot of people have been getting mail through their mailbox by those who are against the vaccination and it's not helping." 

He said the news of the Cook Islands travel bubble was also an incentive to get vaccinated for those wanting to visit home. 

There are two other Auckland Synods in Waitākere and Waitematā.

Church ministers from the Ekalesia Faapotopotoga Kerisiano Samoa Maungakiekie Synod were hoping they would also come forward for their vaccinations when it was time in the next few months.