Right now, the Kaikōura District is New Zealand’s top town for Covid-19 vaccination.
Data supplied by the Ministry of Health shows as of Wednesday, 55 per cent of its population have had both jabs.
Kaikōura narrowly beats Marlborough and Central Otago for the top spot, they are tied for second on 54 per cent.
An additional 17 per cent of the population have received their first dose only.
Health services manager at Kaikōura Healthcare Angela Blunt told the Herald although it was a surprise, she has known for a while they had been doing well.
“The community has got behind it. We have done lots of the boring stuff, planning, organising and working in collaboration as a team.
“We’ve not just worked in isolation as the general practice, we’ve worked with Te Tai O Marokura Health & Social Service, with the Kaikōura District Council, with the Maori wardens and that’s been a great part of the success,” she said.
Blunt also attributes the success to the employment of a Covid-19 vaccination administrator very early on in the vaccine roll-out.
Their role was to call every single person in the community to offer any advice or help if needed.
“That has been a really key part of the process, the friendly phone call, that offer of support to help them to book.”
The idea came about as they have been using a similar strategy for years, for the flu vaccination.
“We’ve really targeted our over-65 Maori people with flu vaccines and we got our Maōri flu vaccination rate up to 85 per cent on that basis, by ringing them.
“We knew that it made a difference to our flu vaccination rates and we knew it would make a difference with Covid vaccination rates.”
Blunt said she also thinks that Kaikōura being a town dependant on tourism helped the vaccination rates.
“As a tourist community we are keen to be able to get back to having tourists here again and we know that in order to be safe, we need to have as many people vaccinated as possible.
“It’s the whole big picture, the whole community has got behind it. The team here has been absolutely amazing, I couldn’t have done it without the team stepping up.”
The town is looking into a number of events that can enable people to get more information about the vaccine and possibly some off-site clinics.
“I feel very proud of the team, very proud of the community. We have all worked really really hard and it’s great that hard work has come to fruition.”
Kaikōura Mayor Craig Mackle said it was not really a surprise that his town was in the top spot.
“I think you always feel good when you know you’re doing your part.
“We are a community that has learned over the years, we stick together and we look after each other. The majority do their part for the greater good. We’ve always done it,” he said.
The Herald will regularly publish the proportion of people partially and fully vaccinated across all 66 New Zealand territorial authorities, using data from the MoH.
The order will be decided by full vaccination levels, instead of overall vaccination (people with one and two doses).
It’s hoped this project will ignite the friendly rivalry all New Zealanders share in order to see our vaccination rate hit 90 per cent and allow us to return some of the societal freedoms we have missed since 2019.
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