Covid 19 Delta outbreak: Political leaders assemble to push Super Saturday vaccination

New Zealand’s political leaders have come together to encourage people to get the jab ahead of tomorrow’s Super Saturday vaccination drive.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, National’s Judith Collins, ACT’s David Seymour, the Greens’ Marama Davidson and the Māori Party’s Debbie Ngarewa-Packer all appeared on Three’s AM Show this morning to send their messages to unvaccinated Kiwis.

Ardern, who had been double vaccinated since July, appealed to people’s “sense of community” – to get the jab to protect their loved ones.

“Don’t do it for yourself, do it for others. If all of us reach out to one of us who hasn’t been vaccinated yet and talk through their concerns and encourage them, we can get the job done.”

Opposition leader Collins echoed Ardern in how the vaccine was the best option for whānau to protect themselves.

“Please just do this. I know those who haven’t are worried about things but please talk to medical professionals and people who understand it – listen to people like Dr Shane Reti who you can trust.”

Collins said while she understood people’s fear of side effects, the real fear was Covid.

“About 2 billion people have had this vaccine – it is not going to hurt you and we know, those of us who have had it, there can be those side effects but there is also knowledge that we are very, very unlikely to end up in ICU or seriously ill if you do catch Covid.”

Seymour said vaccination was not about politics and it was essential the Government’s rollout succeeded.

“If we don’t [succeed], we’re going to see more crowded ICUs, more deaths and more delays in reconnecting with the rest of the world and it’s not about left or right [wing].”

Greens co-leader Davidson accepted some whānau felt disconnected to traditional health systems, but advised people to turn to trusted sources in their communities.

“I acknowledge the generations of people feeling like they haven’t been a part of the team of five million for generations – but I’m asking people to trust our kaupapa Māori experts…do this to protect our whakapapa.”

Speaking in front of a kawakawa plant – renowned for its place in traditional Māori health practices – Davidson said people should follow the example of their tīpuna (ancestors), who understood they needed to do everything in their power to protect their whānau.

Ngarewa-Packer, Te Pāti Māori leader, echoed Davidson’s acknowledgement of the apprehension and lack of trust felt by disengaged whānau.

However, she implored people to trust their political and community leaders who would not be supporting the vaccination effort if it wasn’t beneficial.

“I get it, I truly get it, but we are really in this [position] now that we need to dig deep.”

She was glad Māori health providers had been enabled to deliver vaccination in ways their communities would prefer and hoped they would play a major role in boosting Māori vaccination levels on Super Saturday.

“We see you, we hear you and we encourage you to keep going,” she said to health providers.

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