Covid warning for Reefton area

In Reefton, leaders are wondering how they can get the Covid vaccination  rates up and combat the...
In Reefton, leaders are wondering how they can get the Covid vaccination rates up and combat the growing anti-Government sentiment in the district. Photo: Greymouth Star
The Reefton area is becoming a hotbed of the unvaccinated, prompting warnings that unwilling residents cannot "hide it out" when Covid-19 arrives.


The lowest vax rate on the Coast appears to be Inangahua, with just 72.6% first dose and 230 more doses needed to reach 90%. That is even lower than Lake Brunner, as the previously anti-vax Gloriavale Christian Community is now vaccinating, pushing up compliance.

Karoro is the best, and has surpassed 90% first dose. It is now close to 90% double vaccinated, with just 43 doses needed to reach target. Rutherglen and Paroa, and Hokitika, are not far behind, and are also over 90% first dose.

In Reefton, leaders are wondering how they can get the vax rates up and combat the growing anti-Government sentiment in the district.

"It's beyond me," Inangahua Community Board chairman John Bougen said yesterday.

"There's all sorts of excuses. The main one is anti-Government sentiment," he said, with a lot of people unhappy at being told what to do.

Mr Bougen said at this rate there was no possibility of Reefton going to anything other than the restrictive red traffic light. Consequently, tourists may not stay as long.

One café was also looking at reducing hours, as so many staff were not vaccinated.

"It's quite concerning. People are saying they still stop work and hide it out, they believe it's a month or so. The cold, hard reality is... it will go on for many, many months. Possibly well into 2022."

He said there was also a misconception the hospital system would be fine, when in fact it was already busy.

"There will be no possibility to get treatment other than being thrown a packet of Panadol," Mr Bougen said.

Buller Mayor Jamie Cleine said he believed getting the vaccination rate up further in northern Buller and Inangahua would be labour intensive.

"They've got to go to the people. It will be really labour intensive. I don't think adverts are going to change anybody's mind."

Mr Cleine said he thought the arrival of the traffic light system and vax passports would be a wake-up call once people realised they could no longer go to their local pub, restaurant or have a haircut.

Vax rates are higher in Greymouth and Mayor Tania Gibson said she was trying to get information on how the traffic light system would work.

She also believed reaching the last of the unvaccinated would require work on the ground.

As of last week, just under 1000 West Coast residents needed to get their first vaccine to meet the 90% target.

Latest figures show 305 Maori yet to be done, making up a third of the 'missing' 1000.

 

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