Getting vaccinated against Covid-19 was a no-brainer for me. I have twelve grandchildren and I want to be around for them for as long as possible so I agreed to get vaccinated straight away.  I also offered to be ‘a poster boy’ for the vaccination campaign early on because it’s important that we all stand up and try to make a difference.

Getting vaccinated is a matter of personal choice but for me, there was never any hesitation. It doesn’t necessarily stop you getting Covid of course but it certainly does minimise the impact of the disease. I know this first-hand because I got Covid in the first week of March.

In fact, seven of my whānau all had Covid in the same house at the same time. We coped but some were affected more than others. For me it was like a heavy case of the flu with headaches, body aches, dysentery and high temperatures. My son and his family in Australia have all had it too.  It’s not pleasant.

It’s widespread now. That’s why it’s so important for whānau to get vaccinated. It gives us a much better opportunity to minimise sickness and keep our kaumātua, our tamariki and our jobs safe.

I’m in my late sixties and I’m pleased to see that 100% of my generation are vaccinated. It’s the younger generation – those 30 and under – who are lagging behind. And sadly, they are the ones who have the most social interactions. They need the vaccination the most but too many think they are bulletproof.

I’ve spoken to a number of people who say they won’t get vaccinated under any circumstances because they don’t see the point – and while that is their choice, it’s not just about protecting ourselves, it’s also about protecting our wider whānau.

I think most people know where to go and what to do about getting vaccinated but sadly, too many people are reading false information on the Internet and taking it as gospel. There’s definitely an active campaign of misinformation about vaccines out there and we need to do our best to counteract that by getting our information from a trusted source.

As I said, it is a matter of choice and I understand how difficult it is for people who have had an adverse reaction to the vaccine and have lost their jobs as a result, but at the same time, there are a lot of people out there making bad choices based on the wrong information.

Getting vaccinated – and getting tested when you have symptoms – is a small price to pay for the wellness of your wider whānau. And despite a change in traffic light restrictions, Covid is not over. I think it will be with us for a long time to come, so we need to make a practical decision about the best way to protect ourselves and our whanau.