Vaccination rate the key

By: Anne Tolley

Commision News & Views
with Commission Chair
Anne Tolley

  For people in the Bay of Plenty, the Delta variant of Covid-19 has been ‘around the corner’ for some time. We’ve known it is coming.

With cases now confirmed in Taupō and Rotorua, and positive wastewater test results in Tauranga and Mount Maunganui, I think it’s time to acknowledge we have reached that corner and that it’s time to take action – urgent action.

It’s absolutely clear from our health statistics that unvaccinated people are more likely to catch Covid, and far more likely to suffer serious outcomes requiring hospitalisation and intensive care.

There are few more frightening things than struggling for breath and knowing that you can’t get the amount oxygen your body needs – and that’s just one of Covid’s serious effects.

This virus is a killer, and I know this from personal experience. I lost my brother-in-law in the UK, and my daughter also caught Covid and was badly affected.

On the other hand, fully-vaccinated people - around 80 per cent of our population - make up a very small proportion of our hospitalisations, because they’re protected from Covid’s worst effects.

Locally, Bay of Plenty District Health Board modelling indicates that with 80 per cent full-vaccination coverage, we could still have more than 30,000 Covid cases in 2022, with around 2200 people hospitalised and 230 deaths.

If that vaccination rate increases to 90 per cent, estimated case numbers drop to 20,000, hospitalisations to 1200 and deaths to 130. To put it another way, that could mean between 130-230 Bay of Plenty families will be mourning the unnecessary death of a loved-one next year, and that’s a terrible toll to contemplate.

So please, if you’re eligible for vaccination but have chosen not to do it for any reason, think again. Your whānau, friends and community are depending on you.

In the meantime, it’s crucial for everyone in our community to keep wearing face coverings, stay socially distanced, maintain good hygiene and use the Covid tracer app. Let’s do everything we can to stay safe.