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50% of eligible Māori have had first vaccination – a milestone, says Minister

News from NZ Government
Whānau Ora and Associate Health (Māori Health) Minister Peeni Henare acknowledges two major milestones in the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccination programme for Māori.

“I am very pleased to announce more than 50 percent of eligible Māori have received their first dose and 25 per cent are now fully vaccinated,” Peeni Henare said.

“This means over 285,000 of eligible Māori have had their first dose. This is fantastic news and demonstrates that the whānau-based approach we have taken across the roll-out is working.

“The success of vaccination rates increasing in our Māori communities is due to the mahi being led by our Māori Health Providers and Whānau Ora Provider Network. They are leading a whānau-centred approach, providing outreach in hard-to-reach communities and taking the extra step to ensure the needs of our whānau are met.

“I want to mihi to all the kaimahi across the motu who are working hard to support our whānau. Thank you so much for all you’ve done and continue to do for our people.

“I acknowledge our three leading district health boards in first dose vaccinations: Southern, 58.7%, Capital and Coast, 58.4% and Tāmaki Makaurau, 52.8%.

“Māori Health Providers are rolling out many different approaches available to whānau across the motu.

“But there is still more mahi to be done. That is why I am proud to support the work the Whānau Ora Commissioning Agency and Te Whānau o Waipareira’s Fight for your whakapapa campaign launching today.

“Te Whānau o Waipareira have led an innovative whānau-first vaccination response in Tāmaki Makaurau despite the challenges of the Alert Level 4 lockdown. They quickly set up drive-through vaccinations and allowed walk-ins to enable whānau to come at times convenient to them, and now are leading the rollout of the ‘Shot Bro’ bus across hard-to-reach communities”

“Starting Monday the 08004MAORI phone line will operate 7 days a week between 8am-8pm, while also using popular Auckland radio stations and social media platforms to keep whānau updated on where the mobile vaccination bus will be in the community.

“From the start of the vaccination rollout I have said that this is about protecting our whānau and our whakapapa but this is not a one size fits all approach.

“There is currently a range of vaccination options available for Māori including walk in vaccination centres, pharmacies, GPs, mobile and pop-up clinics, mass vaccinations, workplace events, drive-through centres and marae-based programmes.

“Everyone is playing their part in the push to get all Māori vaccinated, including Turanga Health who are providing local Māori vaccination training and the Southern District Health Board which is working with Māori health providers to vaccinate shearing gangs in rural and remote areas across the district.

“We’ve had Māori wardens in Kaikoura helping with the vaccine rollout to their Māori population over 75, resulting in a 100 percent vaccination rate for this population; Ngāti Hine Health Trust opening a vaccination centre in Whangārei; Northland iwi opening a mobile vaccination service; a community vaccination centre has opened in Tokoroa; Muriwhenua kura are leading door-to-door vaccination drives in the Far North, and targeted Māori vaccination centres in Taranaki are boosting vaccination rates. These are but a few initiatives being driven by Māori for Māori.

“I want to give a special shout-out to Natasha Kemp, Chief Executive of Manurewa Marae, who initiated a walk-in service for rangatahi Māori that has seen an increase in vaccination uptake as a result.

“All of these initiatives are proving a huge success and ensure that Māori can access culturally safe services that meet their needs. We know this is critical to boosting the vaccination uptake rate and ensuring equitable outcomes for Māori.

“While these figures are cause for celebration, we cannot afford to become complacent. It is vitally important that Māori continue to get themselves vaccinated not just for themselves, but for their kaumātua, their tamariki, and their communities.

“My number one message is come forward, get vaccinated. Once you are vaccinated, this helps make sure that you and your friends and whānau have the best protection against COVID-19,” Peeni Henare said.