Coronavirus: Masks should remain compulsory in schools if New Zealand turns orange – Michael Baker
Nationwide, 54.1% of eligible children aged 5-11 received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, while only 20.5% received their second dose.
For children in the Pacific, nearly 11% are fully immunized. This is slightly higher than Maori children, with 9.6 double bites.
These relatively low statistics worry Baker.
“It makes them vulnerable to this infection and also potentially to long COVID effects,” he said.
Because of these rates, he wants to keep masks compulsory in schools to protect children under orange if the government decides it is prudent to change.
“Until we have very high quality ventilation in our schools, which we don’t have at the moment, we need students and teachers to wear masks because unfortunately that is the only obstacle that we have in many cases because only 20% of students are fully vaccinated right now,” Baker said.
Le Fono said he was working hard to increase the number of vaccinations.
“We are disappointed with the numbers but we are not discouraged by the numbers. We will continue,” said Frank Koloi of The Fono.
“People have become a bit more complacent about vaccinations and the numbers have dropped dramatically.”
This made the Fono concerned, so tactics changed alongside other community groups.
“They literally went door to door and knocked on all the doors of these people in their database and asked them to come and get vaccinated,” Koloi said.
And in an effort to boost low childhood vaccination rates, they are offering vaccines outside of school hours on certain days to capture local schools and their parents.
This comes as COVID numbers continue to drop. Just 6,718 were reported on Sunday, which is New Zealand’s lowest daily total in 45 days. 12 other deaths have been reported.