New data released by the University of Otago suggests vaccinations are around 10 percent lower in rural areas – putting our farms, rural communities and supply chains at risk.
Rural areas including Northland, Bay of Plenty and the West Coast all have some areas where up to 40 percent of the population are yet to be vaccinated.
“Unfortunately, the biggest push for vaccinations has fallen right in the middle of the busiest time of year on farm with calving, lambing, then mating. But now is a great time to nudge our teams to take the opportunity to get vaccinated,” says DairyNZ Covid-19 response manager, Hamish Hodgson.
DairyNZ has supported farmers throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, providing good practice on-farm information including what would happen if a staff member got Covid-19 on-farm, along with broader advocacy work to minimise the staff shortage.
“With around half of dairy farms short-staffed, it’s critical everyone stays in good health and farm teams can also help protect the wider community, by being vaccinated.
“If someone in the farm team gets Covid-19, it will be much more disruptive than a couple of trips to town. Getting vaccinated is the single most important thing you can do to protect your farm business from Covid-19.”
In addition to pressures on-farm, people living rurally are usually further from vaccination centres (which may be open limited hours) and have unreliable phone or internet to book appointments.
“Some rural areas haven’t had easy access to vaccination sites, which makes it difficult when things are busy on-farm. We are encouraging more rural-specific sites to be set-up to help give farmers and their communities better access,” says Hamish.
The vaccination video features a range of great Kiwis – from comedian Te Radar, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, political leaders, farmers, farming leaders and their families.
The video has reached around 300,000 Kiwis since Friday – and is online here.
Rural communities are encouraged to book their vaccinations online at bookmyvaccine.covid19.health.nz.
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