Creating a welcoming environment for Pasifika

Samoan community worker, Vailia Afoa-Fui, has put her part-time study on hold to work more hours at a Hornby based COVID-19 vaccination clinic and help protect Canterbury’s Pasifika community.

Vailia has worked on reception at the Maui Clinic in the Hornby mall since it opened in July last year. She usually works for the Tangata Atumotu Trust as a community support worker, helping clients navigate the health system. Vailia was also studying part-time towards a social work degree but has put that aside to be part of the fight against COVID-19.

“It is exciting! We are here to help our community. For us, if we can help in any way we can to get everybody vaccinated, it’s going really well.”

The vaccination site is a collaboration between the mall’s Life Pharmacy, Pasifika non-government-organisation Tangata Atumotu Trust and Māori health provider Te Puawaitanga ki Ōtautahi and now offers adult and paediatric vaccinations.

Vialia says it has been valuable for Pasifika people coming to the clinic to interact with staff from their community and who speak their language.

“We (the staff at Maui Clinic) are all different in our approach but we just encourage them (clients) and if they love their families, I’m pretty sure they love their community as well and want to help protect them.”