14 Oct 2021

Ōtorohanga vaccination rate up with cases in community, boost expected on Super Saturday

8:20 am on 14 October 2021

Data shows vaccination rates in Waikato are improving, but some areas are faring worse than others.

Ōtorohanga town centre

Ōtorohanga town centre. Photo: RNZ/ Dan Cook

Parts of the region will remain in alert level 3 until at least midnight next Monday.

Just over 40 percent of the eligible population in the Ōtorohanga District are fully vaccinated - the lowest in the Waikato.

But Ōtorohanga Medical Centre office manager Tami Porter said cases of Covid-19 in the area are encouraging more locals to get their first dose.

"We were doing probably about 60 to 70 patients a day, now we've picked up to over 100," she said.

Two of the new cases on Wednesday were in a single household in the region and were not yet linked to earlier cases.

"It's definitely picked up, which is good. But now also because of mandated vaccinations for teachers and healthcare workers, it's just gone to the next level," Porter said.

Nationwide, 59 percent of the eligible population have had two doses of the Pfizer vaccine, which is proven to be safe and effective.

Despite this, some Ōtorohanga remained hesitant about getting their first dose.

Local man Bailey said he preferred to wait to get the vaccine.

"I don't feel like I need it at this stage, until it stops me from working or stops me from going about my everyday life, I feel like I don't need it," he said.

On Monday, the government announced mandatory vaccinations for workers in the health and education sector.

Ōtorohanga Agri Machinery owner Norm Burmester said while some residents shared that opinion, many of his customers had already had their first shot.

"I think they're all pretty positive. I have had a few negative comments from people saying they're not having it, but I've tried to encourage them to go and get it done," he said.

Local woman Tuhi said she recently had her first dose after a Covid-19 case was discovered in nearby Kawhia.

The process went smoothly but she was initially hesitant.

"A lack of information, a lack of kanohi ki te kanohi, it was all on social media," she said.

She was working to support and encourage her hesitant whānau who have not had their first dose.

Local business owner Grant said he was due for a second dose but would wait until this weekend's vaccination drive, Super Saturday.

"I think anything that helps people get vaccinated and encourages them to get going is a good idea," he said.

Porter said with giveaways and free food on offer during Super Saturday, she was confident locals will get behind it.

"What else is really happening at level 3?," she said.

New Zealand's first-ever 'Vaxathon' will air on free-to-air television and will show real-time data on vaccination rates in each region.

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