Rugby and health officials teamed up on Saturday to help protect more of the Oamaru community from Covid-19.
The Oamaru Pacific Island Community Group (OPICG) and health providers worked in conjunction with the North Otago Rugby Union to host an outdoor Covid-19 vaccination clinic at Centennial Park.
Those vaccinated at the clinic — receiving first or second doses — got free entry to North Otago’s Heartland game against King Country.
OPICG manager Hana Halalele said 18 people — mainly ‘‘young ones’’ — were vaccinated at the clinic.
The clinic was filled with music, laughter and TikTok dances, and the group held a karakia for players before the game to wish them luck, which was important as many players were from the Pacific Islands, where more Covid-19 cases were popping up. Halalele said the clinic had been an ‘‘awesome’’ opportunity to keep ‘‘chipping away’’ and get the community vaccinated.
Smaller numbers were visiting the clinics now, but there was a trend of people who had been hesitant, making the decision to get vaccinated.
It was important the OPICG was able to continue providing access to the vaccine for when people were ready for it, or mandated through their employers.
‘‘There’s a fine line in terms of us putting too much pressure onpeople but [it’s] more or less providing the education and resource if need be, being able to answer some questions and providing that [so] when they’re ready we can capture them,’’ Halalele said.
People needed to be mindful that as Auckland moved through various alert level phases, there would be more travel throughout the country leading up to Christmas.
‘‘It’s not if it’ll come here, it’ll be when, so [it’s] just getting as much as the population vaccinated as possible just to protect our families and our community.’’
Halalele and other OPICG members were in Duntroon this week supporting the Kurow Medical Centre’s vaccination clinic, and would be at the Oamaru Youth Centre pop-up clinic tomorrow.
Next weekend there would be another clinic in Papakaio, and the final OPICG clinic at St Pauls Presbyterian Church for the year would be held in the first weekend of December.
Clinics would resume mid-January next year to capture those returning to school or the work-force who needed to be vaccinated, Halalele said.