Safe spaces for vaccination

November 2021

The ways people can receive their COVID vaccine are hugely varied, from pharmacist outlets and GP surgeries, to walk-in and drive-through clinics complet with entertainment and giveaways.

For some, being able to be vaccinated in a safe, culturally-sensitive, personal environment is what it takes to make getting the vaccination doable. That approach saw a group of Flaxmere whānau and friends receive theirs on November 14.

For Shelley Pritchard, who had been agonising over the decision to get the vaccination or not, in the end it was a relief.

“I feel like I have done the right thing by our whānau; helping to keep our community safe.”

There is no doubt that making the decision on getting (or not getting) the COVID vaccination has been very difficult for many.

For Shelley it was a mix of things: fear of the vaccine, a strong aversion to being forced to have something put into her body, and not wanting to have the vaccination in an impersonal space.

On the other hand, her experiences as a mother of a child with a compromised immune system swayed her towards community protection, and then there was the ability to safely run her business.

“It has been a really difficult time, and in some cases the vaccination debate has been really divisive between friends and family. This is a very personal decision and the journey to that decision, one way or another, is one that we all have to make at our own pace.”

It had been intended that the group would be vaccinated at Te Aranga Marae, however the marae was needed for a tangi on the day so Shelley opened up her home for the vaccinations.

“It was so important to us that we could have our whānau with us, have our tupuna around us, have a karakia to protect us – all of these things.”

Choices provisional vaccinator Te Ata Mohi said the mobile team will go “absolutely anywhere to vaccinate anyone in the place where they are most comfortable – from one person to groups”.

“What we are most focused on is making sure our people feel safe.”

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