"Vaccinations, for me, it’s like having a seatbelt on when you go driving in a car. It’s about prevention.”
That’s Holly Jackson, a health worker from New Zealand, speaking about the power and significance of COVID-19 vaccines.
Jackson joins everyday people from across Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific — from campaigners and health workers to religious leaders, chefs and students — in a series of Global Citizen videos that aim to combat vaccine hesitancy and increase willingness levels throughout the region.
Paul Foreman, a chef from Australia, joins Jackson in the first of three videos launched globally on Thursday.
"I think it's really important to be vaccinated. From a hospitality perspective, we've had to go through so many restrictions. It's quite challenging," Foreman said, before explaining that he initially had a range of concerns about vaccine safety, side effects and efficacy.
I must admit I had concerns that it's obviously taken a short amount of time to get this vaccine in place. But there’s been a lot of focus on this vaccine to get it up and running. So all resources have gone into this.
Have queries about the #COVID19 vaccine? You’re not alone. ✨ Watch below and check out https://t.co/6SPi9X3k3R to learn more. Plus, take action for a world with equitable vaccines for all here ⬇️https://t.co/2xcy1mdhX8#VaxBecausepic.twitter.com/nBowDHIC2V— Global Citizen Australia (@GlblCtznAU) June 17, 2021
Andrew Gardiner, the CEO of Dandenong & District Aborigines Co-Operative, an Aboriginal community-controlled health organisation, spoke about the historical power of vaccines.
Since 2000, vaccines are thought to have saved the lives of 37 million people across almost 100 low- and middle-income countries.
Younger people now, even people in their 30s and 40s, don't have conditions that people used to have because of vaccinations.
Sharon Bhagwan Rolls, a communications specialist in Fiji, meanwhile, explained that COVID-19 hasn't just impacted the health of the Pacific; it's also had devastating knock-on effects for the region's economy, tourism industry and rates of education and poverty.
"Fiji, like many other Pacific Island countries, has such a huge reliance on the tourism sector," Rolls said, before explaining that the pandemic has hit women, particularly those running small businesses, disproportionately hard.
It’s really impacting women's economic security.
Health workers across the Pacific talked to @GlblCtznAU and @unicefaustralia about why it's so important that #COVID19 vaccines reach everyone. 🌏 Vaccines don't just protect our health, they're also vital for education. https://t.co/6SPi9X3k3R#VaxBecause@UNICEFPacificpic.twitter.com/v2VKJOG2hk— Global Citizen Australia (@GlblCtznAU) June 17, 2021
In the last video, Nancy Tupou, a support officer with the Tonga Ministry of Health, revealed that she was one of the first frontline workers in her hospital to get vaccinated. She said the decision to be vaccinated stemmed from wanting to protect her very young daughter.
Fiji saw COVID-19 cases spike to the highest levels yet earlier this month.
Just 26% of the population has been vaccinated.
She added that people are getting vaccinated more often than not just for themselves but because they want to protect those they love. She urged those with apprehension about the vaccine to view immunisation through this lens.
Maybe for you as a person, you think you’re ok without it. But then, the rest of your family are more at risk. This is who we need to think of first.
Everyone’s experience with the pandemic has been different. We spoke to people from across the Oceania region about whether they’ve had the vaccine and why it’s ok to have questions! 🦠 Learn more https://t.co/6SPi9X3k3R and take action https://t.co/2xcy1mdhX8. #VaxBecausepic.twitter.com/97as386rqy— Global Citizen Australia (@GlblCtznAU) June 17, 2021
You can hear more about people’s personal experience of getting the COVID-19 vaccine, engage in candid conversations about the pandemic and share whether you have, are getting, or have gotten the vaccine at Global Citizen’s VAX BECAUSE hub.