'Quiet competition' among Pacific communities in Covid-19 vaccination drives

An organiser for the Cook Islands drive in Covid-19 vaccination clinic says a quiet competition against other Pacific communities will take place during this week's drive in.

20th September, 2021

'Quiet competition' among Pacific communities in Covid-19 vaccination drives

Levi Matautia-Morgan

An organiser for the Cook Islands Covid-19 vaccination drive says a "quiet competition" is taking place among Pacific communities.

The Niuean and Cook Island communities will be vaccinating as many people as possible when they host vaccination drives this week. 

Organiser Tauraki Rongo says the race to get the most vaccinations has begun.

"I think one way of looking at it, you know we got to try and have more people than the Samoans and the Niueans. It's like a competition. 

"It's going to be good, I think the competition vibe between the three countries, I think that will hopefully boost numbers."

Dr Alvin Mitikulena says he hopes to see a large turnout at dedicated Niuean vaccination events in Wellington and Auckland.

"We are hoping that we do reach that two-hundred plus, I think perhaps it's the island way, we wait till the day.”

He says: "We will have some entertainment and we'll have some refreshments. There will be a prize as well, some prizes on the day and a gift pack for all those who get vaccinated. So it will be indeed a real celebration of our culture.”

The Director of Pacific Health at the Waitemata District Health Board Dr Aumea Herman says there are thousands of Cook Islanders in the metro Auckland area who are not yet vaccinated and wants this to change.

"In the metro Auckland area, there's about twenty-five thousand Cook Islanders. We know that there's about ten thousand that haven't had the first dose so we know the numbers are achievable in terms of what we're trying to draw in, so it's one of those things that you don't know until the day whether we can pull this off"

The Niuean community will host a one-day drive-in clinic in Wellington on Wednesday and in Auckland from Thursday to Saturday.

The Cook Islands community will also host their vaccination clinic in Auckland from Thursday to Sunday.