Covid-19 Delta outbreak: Northland Indian community has highest vaccination rate in region

Jas Singh believes that culture has a role to play in the high rate of vaccination in the Northland Indian community. Photo / Michael Cunningham

The Northland Indian community has achieved 90 percent dual vaccination and credit goes to the culture of joint families, a community spokesperson said.

The Indian community is Northland’s fourth largest subgroup – after Europeans, Maori and the Pacific – and 90.7% of the 2,087 eligible Indians are now fully vaccinated, while 92.7% have received a vaccine.

The “denominator” that was used is “population registered with PHO”.

Northland Indian Association board member Jas Singh believes the reason for the high vaccine consumption has something to do with people living in shared families.

“Many people in our community live in common families, with three generations living under one roof – children, parents and grandparents.

“So everyone in the house received a vaccine to protect those who couldn’t get it – for example, children under 12 – and also for everyone in the wider community.

“Another reason was that the community understood the reason and the science behind vaccines.”

Singh, who is also part of the Sikh community in Whangārei, said everyone who came to the Sikh temple had been fully vaccinated.

He recognized that everyone has the right to decide, but said that with every right comes a responsibility.

If everyone did their part, the community would be a much safer place, Singh said.

The Northland Indian Association partnered with Northland DHB to organize an India Independence Day vaccination campaign on August 15 and a follow-up on September 21, which saw at least 250 vaccine injections on both days.

Association president Ralph Correa said many Indian families in Northland realized the importance of vaccination compared to what was happening in India with Covid at the time. “It was grim,” he said.

They had seen firsthand the hardships of the pandemic, Correa said.

“We have decided to come together and do our part to prevent such a situation from happening here. We were successful in getting the message across to multi-ethnic people, so we ended up bringing together people from different cultural backgrounds that day, not just Indians. “

In August, when the cultural group set up the vaccination clinic, Covid was ravaging parts of the Indian subcontinent as well as countries like South Africa and Fiji which have large Indian populations.

Northland Indian Association President Ralph Correa said many members of the Northland Indian community have seen the hardships of the pandemic.  Photo / Michael Cunningham
Northland Indian Association President Ralph Correa said many members of the Northland Indian community have seen the hardships of the pandemic. Photo / Michael Cunningham

Yesterday, 80.5% of the eligible Fijian population (479) and 79.1% of the eligible African population (368) in Northland were fully immunized.

“The world was in pain back then. Many couldn’t visit their families and they were still dealing with the effects of the blockages. When we announced that this service was available, the usage was really good,” Correa said.

People in the Pacific, who are the third largest subgroup, were 82% fully vaccinated and 93% received their first dose.

Northland health officials celebrated on Wednesday that the region had achieved 80% double vaccination. However, it was still the least vaccinated region in New Zealand.


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