Heavyweight boxing star David Tua has urged New Zealanders to get vaccinated, and said it was important those who are refusing to get the jab have a “clear understanding of the consequences” of their choices.
Talking to Jason Pine on Newstalk ZB this afternoon, the one-time world title contender said he had been moved by what he has seen so far during the Super Saturday Vaxathon event.
Kiwis had already smashed the Government’s Super Saturday goal of 100,000 vaccine doses by 3pm today.As of 5pm, more than 120,800 jabs have been administered across New Zealand.
Following the 100,000 dose milestone, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern set an ambitious new target of hitting 150,000 doses by 8pm.
Tua had spent part of the day getting around Onehunga and said it appeared there had been a mindset change from some people who previously had been slow to get themselves vaccinated.
“Unity, it is the greatest thing to see … New Zealand and our families coming together,” Tua said.
“There are those who would rather sit at home, but now it is hey let’s get out there [and get vaccinated]. That is the greatest thing, all of us standing together.
“The enemy is the virus, not the people.”
Tua won the respect and support of millions of Kiwi boxing fans around the country during his stellar boxing career; which peaked in 2000 when he fought Lennox Lewis for the world heavyweight belt in Las Vegas.
But he has always had the support and respect of those closest to him in South Auckland. That is one of the areas targeted by the Vaxathon to increase vaccination rates.
When asked what sort of conversations he was having with people today, Tua said: “Most important at the end of the day it is freedom of choice, we all have a choice, but what is really important is to have a clear understanding of the consequences of our choices.
“For me, there was no ifs, no buts, it was very, very important that I made that right decision and to get vaccinated.
“We have some elderly people in our family, we have to do it. This is for all New Zealand.”
When asked how he got his message across to those who weren’t yet vaxxed, he said: “With love, with knowledge … there is a lot of love and knowledge.”
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield have been going around the Wellington region, as they join the drive to get people vaccinated. And Kiwi A-list stars including Lorde and Taika Waititi have beamed in from the US to join today’s Vaxathon.
In Auckland, 300 pre-booked people will have their vaccination on board an Air New Zealand Boeing 787 Dreamliner jet, in business class. In Gisborne, four clinics are offering live music, cheeseburgers and tickets to Rhythm and Vines. In this country’s most vaccinated region, Dunedin, there is music and food at the Octagon.
Your guide to vaccination across NZ
New Zealand’s day of vaccination – Super Saturday – is upon us and is expected to be a record-breaking effort in the country’s battle with Covid-19.
With 136 community cases in the past two days, the emphasis has been placed on boosting vaccination levels nationwide to ensure Kiwis are at least partially protected from the virus.
Currently, 83 per cent of Kiwis have had their first jab, while 62 per cent are fully vaccinated. A full vaccination level of above 90 per cent across populations has been long touted as the point at which New Zealand can start reconnecting with the world.
An eight-hour Vaxathon (vaccination telethon) will broadcast from 12pm to 8pm on THREE, Māori TV, TV2, nzherald.co.nz and Discovery, as well as other Māori platforms like Hahana, JGeeks, Re: News, Te Wiki o te Reo Māori and Waatea News.
Instead of donations, the aim of the Vaxathon is to raise national vaccination levels which will be updated regularly throughout the broadcast, informing viewers where vaccination rates are rising the fastest.
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