Sunday, October 17, 2021

Impact of NZ’s Covid-19 crisis hits close to home for New Plymouth mayor


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Seeing the stress his mates in the health workforce are already under is enough of a reason for New Plymouth’s mayor to support the vaccine push.

When Neil Holdom gets his second jab in the coming week or so, his friends on the Covid-19 frontlines won’t be far from his mind.

Holdom spoke with the Taranaki Daily News ahead of Super Saturday on October 16, a nationwide drive to get people vaccinated against the worst effects of the virus that has swept the world.

“It’s crept into our lives at a level no-one would have believed two years ago. Now we’re in a position where it’s spreading and heading our way.”

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Holdom said with Delta on our doorstep, the pressure was “cranking up”, something he saw clearly in the faces of his friends who worked in the health sector.

“They’re already under pressure and quite stressed and Delta hasn’t arrived yet,” the second-term civic leader said.

“This is a crisis, and it’s very real.”

Getting to this point still baffled Holdom somewhat. He said not long ago it would have been unimaginable for New Zealanders to have to wear masks to pop into their local shop, or be stuck at home under lockdown restrictions.

“I think for all New Zealanders it’s been quite surreal, as it does feel a little like a Netflix, sci-fi thing.”

Holdom said one of the roles he, and the rest of the New Plymouth District Council (NPDC), had was to support central Government and the Taranaki District Health Board (TDHB) to tackle the crisis.

“We’re just a little player in a much bigger scenario.”

Lockdown had created delays, and more costs, regarding NPDC’s $90 million capital work programme planned for this financial year, but Holdom hoped for a bigger pay-off from the organisation’s ongoing commitment to support iwi and health providers to get vaccination rates up around the region.

“That work is ultimately going to save lives.”

Holdom said he used an evidence-based approach in everything he did, so believed in the efficacy of the vaccine and knew Government had sufficient stocks for New Zealanders to hit the target of 90 per cent jabbed, and ideally beyond.

While he conceded a dose of complacency could be one explanation for Taranaki’s until recently low rates of vaccination, Holdom said there had been a concerted effort to ensure the opportunity to get the jab was as accessible as possible.

This week, the Taranaki District Health Board announced that 50 per cent of Taranaki residents are now fully protected against the virus, and 75 per cent have had at least one dose.

The figures were welcomed by the Taranaki Mayoral Forum, which as well as Holdom includes South Taranaki Mayor Phil Nixon, Stratford Mayor Neil Volzke, and Taranaki Regional Council chair David MacLeod.

Nixon said the forum was putting out the challenge for the region to become 90 per cent fully jabbed.

‘‘We are urging residents to take advantage of Super Saturday and visit one of the more than 30 places available around the Maunga to get vaccinated,’’ he said.

Holdom said he knew not everyone was on the same page in terms of embracing vaccination.

In August, NPDC councillor Anneka Carlson was criticised, including by microbiologist Dr Siouxsie Wiles, for a video she posted on social media which questioned the efficacy of Covid-19 vaccines.

Holdom said he would describe some of his own friends as “vaccine hesitant”.

His approach to dispel any indecision was to try and explain his way of thinking, without being confrontational.

“What you always want to do is form opinions based on good information.”

Ahead of Super Saturday, his message to those yet to get the vaccine was to seek out advice from a health professional they trust, like their GP.

“Often it’s just about that reassurance.”

Where to get vaccinated this Super Saturday

Appointments at the main vaccination centres – 109 Powderham St New Plymouth, and the TSB Hub in Hāwera – pharmacies and some GP clinics can be booked online at BookMyVaccine.nz.

Saturday will also see pop-up clinics at the Waitara Womens’ Welfare League in Queen Street, next door to New World, from 9am–3pm, The Warehouse Bell Block 12-2pm and The Warehouse New Plymouth 9am–3.30pm.

A free community BBQ, and pizza night is being held at the Beach House Cafe, Marine Parade, Waitara with vaccinations available from 2.30pm – 7.30pm.

This article first show on www.stuff.co.nz Source link Author DEENA COSTER on date 2021-10-12 16:15:00

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