Hukarere Girls’ College Head Girl urges all rangatahi to get vaccinated

Hukarere Girls’ College’s student leaders believe rangatahi around the country should take up the mantle and get vaccinated against COVID-19.

The school has led the charge in the fight against the virus with close to 100 per cent vaccinated and protection measures in place.

Head Girl Josene Brown received her first dose of the Pfizer vaccine at a pop-up clinic run by Te Kupenga Hauora Ahuriri at the school last Thursday.

It comes off the back of the first clinic held at the school on September 30, where 12 students and several staff received their first, and in some cases, second doses.

This time around, Josene was among 24 girls to roll up their sleeves. Deputy Head Girl Delta Huata has also been vaccinated, having had both jabs.

Josene says she came to the decision on her own after much research and discussion with her mother and whānau.

“I want to keep my family safe, and my parents live down south, so I travel a lot back and forth,” the 17-year-old says. “And in my position as head girl, it makes sense to be that role model for others.”

The jab itself “wasn’t as bad” as she first thought, and she is now looking forward to getting her second dose in three weeks time.

She believes people need to get vaccinated, but on their own terms, and after talking to trusted health professionals if apprehensive.

“It just keeps everyone safe, and it prevents the virus from getting worse like how we have the Delta variant now.”

Principal Shona West says Josene exemplifies what it means to be Head Girl, and lead from the front.

It is no coincidence, she says, that more girls chose to get vaccinated this time, as many hold Josene in high regard and want to follow her lead.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced a new COVID-19 Protection Framework last month that will come into action when a 90 per cent vaccination rate is

The school is close to 100 per cent vaccinated and is just one of the many ways the school is ensuring protection against the virus. “We are working towards helping the Government meet their targets, and as an individual school, we are doing incredibly well.”

“Through my messages, whānau have actually all gone in with their girls to get vaccinated when they’ve been back during lockdown and the recent school holidays.”

From January 1 next year, only staff and support people who are vaccinated can have contact with children and students as per Government and Ministry of Education regulations.