Hamilton mayor Paula Southgate has received some Imperial help in the ongoing battle against Covid-19.
Stormtrooper Alistair Richardson will be part of the fun at various vaccination stations around the city on Super Saturday – a nationwide Telethon-style call to action to ensure the population is vaccinated as much as possible.
Pop-up vaccination sites, drive-through services, awards, music, free food, and the opportunity to be photographed with one of Darth Vader’s henchmen – all used to entice Waikato residents to get vaccinated.
Currently, 77 percent of the region’s population has received their first dose – but only 55 percent are fully vaccinated.
New Zealand urgently needs to achieve a double tax rate of at least 90 percent to avoid the prospect of summer without ongoing quarantines.
Southgate is trying to garner support for the case, and so is Richardson, now a member of Outpost 42 Garrison, the New Zealand branch of the worldwide Star Wars costume group known as the 501st Legion.
“As we dress up as stormtroopers, Sith lords, bounty hunters, and other villains Star wars In the movies, we dedicate most of our time to helping charities and community groups,” said Richardson.
It is an international initiative that earned the group the slogan “Bad guys do good”.
Richardson, director of personal training at Les Mills when he wasn’t suppressing rebel forces in a distant galaxy, said there are strict rules about what he and other members of the club can promote.
“The costume is exact replicas of the movies, like our entire band, so the strict requirements [set by Disney and Lucas Films Ltd] when we get together or do activities.”
“We can’t endorse products, but as this is a community event, I was given approval.”
Waikato Covid-19 immunization program leader Maree Munro said Super Saturday is an opportunity for the entire community to put the combined weight of the vaccination effort behind it.
“Full vaccination of higher numbers will make a huge difference in how we deal with Covid-19 in society. It should reduce the need for quarantine and give us more opportunities to get out.
“As summer approaches and everyone wants to go out and socialize, we expect a large turnout.”
There will be 65 sites in the region where people can get vaccinations without reservation, including 13 with free food, entertainment and spot rewards. Alert Level 3 restrictions will be followed, so people are required to wear masks and stay two meters away from everyone outside their balloon.
Anyone over the age of 12 who has not yet been vaccinated or had their first vaccination at least three weeks ago can come and get vaccinated on the spot. Those who are still unsure of whether there is a vaccine can speak to healthcare professionals in each field.
“There will be no definitive sales, just lots of answers so you have the right information you need to make your own decision.”