Vaxed and relaxed . . . Waitaki Mayor Gary Kircher and Waitaki District Council digital multimedia specialist Sonia Martinez hold some of the council's "Vaxxed for summer" campaign posters. PHOTO: KAYLA HODGE

Getting 90% of the eligible Waitaki population fully-vaccinated is about much more than a “Top Town” competition, Waitaki Mayor Gary Kircher says.

It is about keeping the community as safe as possible during the pandemic.

On Wednesday, Waitaki was the 25th most vaccinated district in the country – with 57.2% of the eligible population fully-vaccinated, 20.8% having one dose and 21.95% unvaccinated.

Mr Kircher, who was “proudly” double-vaccinated, was hoping tomorrow’s “Super Saturday” vaccination efforts, with clinics being held throughout the district, would help boost Waitaki’s rates.

Super Saturday is a “national day of action” encouraging every remaining eligible New Zealander to get a Covid shot. A “Vaxathon”, fronted by well-known celebrities, influencers and health professionals, will be broadcast on several platforms, including Three and Maori Television, from noon to 8pm.

There were a lot of people who were passionate about helping get the community vaccinated for health, freedom and economic reasons, and community-led initiatives had been “very effective” at getting the message across, Mr Kircher said.

“From a community point of view, it really shows that connectedness in our community.

“There’s a lot of motivation to make this happen and certainly people are getting in behind it.”

Vaccinations played a key role in helping control the spread of Covid-19 in New Zealand, and protecting vulnerable people and the wider community.

If Covid-19 spread in the community, it would put a huge strain on the health system, due to the limited number of intensive care units and ventilators in New Zealand.

“It’s a very real problem … that if we don’t achieve enough vaccinations the consequences could be what we are seeing in some places overseas where hospitals just can’t cope, and other people are missing out on the medical care they need.

“That’s one of the big drivers for me.”

The Waitaki District Council has launched a new summer vaccination campaign, featuring slogans including “It’s our best shot at a sweet-as summer, Waitaki”, “Vaxed, relaxed and ready for summer”.

“It’s a good message and it just helps to put a bit of humour alongside a topic which can otherwise be a bit daunting.”

Waitaki’s “Super Saturday” clinics:

• East Otago Health, Palmerston: 10am-2pm
• Kurow Medical Centre, (at Mackenzie Health Centre) Twizel: 9am-1pm, 1:30pm-3.30pm
• North End Health Centre, Oamaru: 9am-2pm
• North End Pharmacy, Oamaru: 10am-12pm
• North Otago Dispensary, Oamaru: 10am-1pm
• Oamaru Doctors, Oamaru: 9.30am-12.30pm, 1.30pm – 4.30pm
• Oamaru Pharmacy: 1pm-3.30pm, 4pm-7pm
• Papakaio Community Hall, Oamaru: 10am-3pm