Matt Chat: Vaccinate to get our freedoms back

This Saturday is a nationwide vaccination drive, Super Saturday, to encourage greater uptake of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Summer is just eight weeks away and we need everyone to get their first shot now so that we can all be fully vaccinated in time for Christmas.

There is an extensive increase in locations to get vaccinated this Saturday – check out the full list here. 

The Tauranga Chamber of Commerce team support the call for vaccinations as a way to get our country moving again and enable our businesses to operate at full capacity. 

Our CEO Matt Cowley had his first jab earlier this month and is getting his second next week (we’re busy working for the Business Awards on Saturday).

Below is his recount of the experience and why getting vaccinated is critical to our economy.  This column was originally published in the BOP Times. 

I had my first COVID-19 vaccine shot on Friday. I was in one of the last groups to be able to book my vaccine pre-September 1 as I’m still hanging on to my thirties. 

The process at Life Pharmacy on Devonport Road was incredibly easy, and I had a good chat with the others after while we waited 15 minutes to ensure we didn’t have a reaction.  

The friendly staff said most vaccination sites now have lots of spots available, as New Zealand finally has large stockpiles of vaccine dozes.  

The staff also mentioned that there has been a lot of no shows – possibly because people are not updating their bookings online if they get an earlier spot elsewhere.  

Since coming out of August’s Alert Level 4, I have found that more people fear the Government’s hard lockdowns than the risks of catching the virus itself.  

The recent announcement regarding locations of interest in Tauranga caused a lot of anxiety for local business owners because last time we went into lockdown within hours of the announcement.  

It’s clear that we need a new strategy as the psychological and economic costs of the Government’s hard and blunt lockdowns are beginning to outweigh the benefits.  

Super Shot Saturday

As with other countries, the primary way to avoid lockdowns – and to reconnect with a re-emerging world – is to get vaccinated.  

Our 90 percent vaccination target will be hard to reach as there are a number of people who cannot receive the vaccine for genuine health reasons.  

There are also some vaccine sceptics out there. I’ve realised my harsh approach with sceptics or friends sharing anti-vaccine propaganda on social media isn’t the right approach either.  

Many are caught in a vortex, especially on social media where the app wants to keep you engaged to sell more adverts, so they show more of what they think you want to see. Social media is essentially like pokie machines.  

I love social media memes, but for entertainment purposes only. I don’t receive my factual information from memes, as they’re nearly always fake news. But telling sceptics that they’re wrong isn’t going to change their mind.  

If you know someone on the fence about vaccinations, please encourage them to speak with a trusted, and qualified health professional.   

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