When the vaccine first came out, I wasn’t automatically sure that I was going to get it. Like everyone else, I was apprehensive about the speed of the development and roll out. I like to do my own research on anything, that’s just a habit I have, so the first thing I did was read up on it. Then I talked to other people about it, including the nurses at work but also people who don’t want to get it. I listened to why they didn’t want it and thought to myself – is that a valid enough reason for me not to get it?
Most people were just nervous about not knowing what’s inside the vaccine and what it does, or they’ve been spending too much time on Facebook and getting into all the conspiracy theories. But you can find out the ingredients – the research and the data is out there if you go and look for it. There’s always going to be a little bit of scepticism about any new vaccine but you just need to stay off Facebook and do your own research.
Eventually I figured out that I had to take myself out of the equation and think about it in terms of the whānau that I work with and the wider community. I’m a Community Support Worker for Te Kāika and I work with some vulnerable people. .
Because Māori are in the higher risk category for most health statistics, the more we can do to mitigate those factors the better it is in the long run, and vaccination is part of that.
But there is a big distrust in the health system by many Māori and simply telling them to get vaccinated isn’t really working. By getting vaccinated myself and working alongside whānau I can be a tangible resource for them and help guide them through the process, whether that’s helping them access any information they need or bridging the gap between them and health engagement.
At the end of the day, it’s your choice. As long as you’re making the decision for valid reasons, and it’s an informed decision. Talk to people who have been vaccinated. Do your research, get some proper information. Just think about others, I guess. That ended up being the main reason for me – I was doing it for my family and others who I work with.