Close to 6000 Pasifika vaccinated at ‘Rally your Village’ event

Wednesday 6 October 2021 | Written by RNZ | Published in New Zealand, Regional

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Close to 6000 Pasifika vaccinated at ‘Rally your Village’ event
The colourful community event is another milestone for Pasifika, helping to reach more youth and their families. Photo: South Seas Healthcare

A mass vaccination event has dished out nearly 6000 vaccines to Pasifika in Auckland within almost a week.

The youth-led drive-through event, 'Rally your Village' is a big win for Pacific communities, who not only received a dose of the Pfizer vaccine but also drove away with practical essentials.

The colourful community event is another milestone for Pasifika, helping to reach more youth and their families.

Happening at Auckland's Vodafone Events Centre since 1 October, over 5642 vaccines were administered. It's been so popular it was extended for another two days - with this being the final day.

The Samoan vaccination campaign was led by Pacific health provider South Seas' youth group Bubble Gum and is part of a 12 week vaccination programme.

South Seas chief executive Silao Vaisola-Sefo was extremely proud of the team behind the drive-through event.

"We have had thousands of cars come through. It has really been driven by youth, designed by youth in the community."

South Seas Healthcare's youth development lead Sonya Masoe said despite having some push-back and abuse online by conspiracy theorists - it was all worth it.


The event helped to reach more youth and their families. Photo: South Seas Healthcare

"Feeling really good. Overall just really happy with the numbers that came through. It was a huge success," Masoe said.

"The idea 'Rally your Village' - we thought would really resonate with our people. It's just more people that are getting vaccinated to ensure our community is safe," she said.

Auckland councillor Josephine Bartley said the incentives were a treat for people.

"It's been an awesome event. There was a mix of people in the cars, mix of ages. Everyone was happy and vibing and I think the free KFC had something to do with that as well."

The KFC was just a taste of the $100,000 worth of giveaways.

So far more than 34,000 food parcels, 500 lunch packs and 2000 plus petrol vouchers have been distributed.

Silao Vaisola-Sefo said the community driven approach was key to its success.

He said "it's about taking people on a journey" before and after they get the vaccine.


A mass vaccination event has dished out nearly 6,000 vaccines to Pasifika in Auckland Photo: South Seas Healthcare

"In the last three days we have had those co-ordinators on site. That's what worked - the telethon model. Really awesome - that's the success of this. That's why it's worked. It's community driven."

Josephine Bartley said the approach has led to collective community spirit and was one of the most successful responses she's seen.

Minister of Pacific Peoples Aupito William Sio said he could not be more proud of the youth organisers.

"A huge congratulations, absolutely proud of the leadership of the Bubble Gum group in leading that," he said.

"Their efforts alongside other young people who are leading the charge are probably responsible for the huge uptake in the Covid-19 vaccine for the age group."