West Coast mayors all vaccinated against Covid-19

All three West Coast mayors are now fully vaccinated against Covid 19 and are urging their communities to follow suit.

Thames-Coromandel Mayor Sandra Goudie has sparked controversy over her refusal to accept the Pfizer shots.

And as the Delta outbreak spreads, Local Government New Zealand has warned that mayors and others who refuse to get immunised could find themselves shut out of council offices if chief executives decide they are a health risk.

The Local Democracy Reporting service invited council leaders to disclose their vaccination status.

Only West Coast Regional Council chairman Allan Birchfield declined, saying that was no one's business but his own.

Grey District Mayor Tania Gibson said she had had both her shots and councils had been doing all they could to try to get their communities vaccinated.

"Now we need to try and find the hard-to-reach and continue to get the word out there that if you get the opportunity take it up. It was great to see the uptake in the vaxathon last weekend, with West Coast coming in second behind only Hawke's Bay."

Buller Mayor Jamie Cleine said he had been double-vaxed since mid-June and fully supported the programme.

"The West Coast is simply not equipped to deal with a significant unvaccinated population in our medical system, and almost all of our people requiring treatment would likely find themselves transferred long distances from family."

Westland Mayor Bruce Smith said he had his two Covid jabs back in May and would continue to advocate vaccination for all eligible West Coast residents.

Rex Williams, who chairs the Tai o Poutini Plan Committee, confirmed he had also had the protective jabs.

Cr Birchfield said he believed people's health status was a personal matter, and local government leaders were entitled to privacy as much as anyone else.

- by Lois Williams

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