COVID-19: Canterbury businesses banding together to increase vaccination rates

Business leaders in the South Island are banding together to increase vaccination rates.

They're launching a campaign to get 90 percent of Cantabrians vaccinated by Labour Weekend.

The South Island is still COVID free, but as long as we're operating at Delta level 2, it's anything but business as usual.

"We've had a really clear signal from the Government that in order for us to move down the alert levels... and I guess get some sort of freedom back… one of the key messages has been... we need to increase our vaccination rates," Canterbury Employers' Chamber of Commerce CEO Leeann Watson says.

So, local businesses are taking it upon themselves to get the job done.

"I think we all have to roll up our sleeves and get involved if we're to take on the challenge of COVID and solve it," Harvey Cameron CEO Cam Murchison says.

With support from the DHB, they've set an ambitious target.

"So our goal is to make sure that 90 percent of Cantabrians have at least one vaccination by Labour Weekend. We want to have the highest and most equitably vaccinated population in New Zealand here in Canterbury," Watson says.

The campaign - they're calling it '90 percent​ Canterbury - we're worth it' - will be rolled out in just a couple of days.

"This is an additional initiative to help feed the conversation about the need to be vaccinated and to spread that at a grassroots level to all parts of our community," Murchison says.

Expect to see mobile vaccination clinics, mass drive-through events and more vaccine centres.

Further south, Highlands Motorsport Park is also doing their bit to encourage people in the area to get the jab.

"We decided these school holidays at Highlands that we would provide free museum entry for anyone who chose to show us their vaccination card, just as a positive way for us to promote the vaccination programme," Highlands chief operating officer Josie Spillane says.

As an employer of more than 100 staff, they know they need to help be part of the solution.

"This is the tool that is going to enable us to get back to business, to protect our vulnerable, to protect our kids and our loved ones and enable us to eventually get back to some type of normality," Spillane says.

And at speed.