As a GP based in South Auckland, Dr Talemaitoga is on a mission to educate people about Covid-19 and get as many people as possible vaccinated against it.
He says the mass vaccination event in South Auckland on July 30 is yet another tool that we can use to reach communities and make getting vaccinated easier and more accessible.
“The mass vaccination centres, and I know very well of the ones in Auckland, were a great way to touch a whole lot of the population in one hit,” says Dr Talemaitoga.
“This is where we can really encourage our Māori and Pasifika to come down as a group because there is comfort in going with people you know, and having people that can speak your language and who can explain the vaccine.”
Dr Talemaitoga says it’s not always ideal for people to have to ring an 0800 number and wait on the line to make an appointment. He is often asked by his patients when he will do vaccinations at his clinic.
“A trusted source is so important. It’s someone they trust or someone who has treated them, looks after their blood pressure, heart disease or whatever,” he says.
It makes the mass vaccination event, where things are done in a clinically and culturally competent way, so important, he says.
The event at the Vodafone Events Centre is aimed at increasing vaccination numbers among Maori and Pasifika in South Auckland.
“I love that we are encouraging people as a group and a fanau to come and get vaccinated.”
If people are nervous or anxious about getting vaccinated, Dr Talemaitoga urges them to voice their concerns with a trusted source or medical professional, like doctors, nurses or pharmacists.
“Ask about it. What is it that you’re worried about? Is it the safety? Is it that it’s been manufactured too fast? Because all the vaccinators have been trained to answer all these questions and the great thing about having this in South Auckland, it’s coming from people you trust and they can explain it in your own language.”
Dr Talemaitoga, like many Fijian Kiwis, is watching the situation in his homeland with a heavy heart.
“A lot of people are talking about their concerns and worries for their family members in Fiji – myself included. I’ve been able to talk to our Fijian communities in New Zealand and reassure them that the vaccination is safe to use and I ask them to support their relatives back home by showing them trusted websites rather than social media posts from a stranger.”
For more information visit https://covid19.govt.nz/