Publication:

Manawatu Guardian - 2021-11-25

Data:

Let’s maintain vaccination vigilance

STEPPING OUT

Tangi Utikere From Tangi’s desk

Here in New Zealand, our plan is a simple one — to reopen carefully while continuing to protect lives and livelihoods. We’re in a new phase of our response. Delta is here now — we need to modify our strategy to minimise its impact. Our approach of elimination and the alert levels have served us well and we enter this new phase better placed than many other countries, with high vaccination rates, a strong economy and with fewer hospitalisations and deaths. I’d like to thank health workers in our region who have worked hard to get as many people vaccinated as possible. The response from everyone in New Zealand has been incredible, with 82 per cent fully vaccinated. Here in Palmerston North we’ve reached more than 94 per cent for the first dose, which is really something to be proud of. However, with Delta starting to emerge in communities outside Auckland, now is the time to ensure vaccination remains a focus. We remain committed to working with and supporting those who are hesitant about getting the vaccine, and our job isn’t done until everyone who can gets the chance to be vaccinated. However, we need to make decisions now that will protect them and others; the new framework helps protect unvaccinated people by minimising spread. We’re moving forward with our clear and simple plan to carefully reopen. We’re boosting vaccination rates to slow the spread and reduce the strain on our health system, and moving into the new Covid-19 protection framework, which has safeguards to protect us all from the worst impacts of the virus. We’ve always said we’ll be pragmatic about shifting. However, high levels of vaccination help protect the vulnerable and those who can’t be vaccinated in our communities. Our new framework has been designed to carry us safely through the next stage. This is a significant shift for New Zealanders, but we have a plan and you can build your own one, too. Get your vaccine pass ready and continue to follow public health guidance. Tangi Utikere is MP for Palmerston North.

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