New Zealand is among those special countries that has essentially transformed itself into an autocratic anti-COVID police state—a shift that has made for some really, really weird bedfellows:
Rawiri Jansen, a Maori doctor, had an urgent message for the 150 people, mostly patch-wearing members of New Zealand's plentiful street gangs and their families, who sat before him on a bright Saturday afternoon.
Covid is coming for them, he said. Cases in New Zealand's hospitals are rising rapidly. Soon, dozens of new infections a day might be hundreds or even a thousand. People will die. And vaccination is the only defense. "When your doctors are scared, you should be scared," he said.
That sound super ominous, especially if you didn't know that 86% of eligible New Zealanders have received at least 1 dose of the vax and that there have been only 28 deaths in the entire country over nearly two years.
By the end of the day, after an exhaustive question-and-answer session with other health professionals, roughly a third of those present chose to receive a dose then and there.
For reference, the most notorious New Zealand street gang—the Mongrel Mob—is known for getting into violent shootouts even as they are burying their own members: