Northland Māori Covid-19 vaccination rates four times lower

10:55 am on 24 August 2021

Northland Māori Covid-19 vaccination rates are almost four times lower than those for Europeans.

Kensington Health Hub drive through style vaccination clinic, Kensington Crossing shopping centre, Whangarei.

Covid-19 vaccination processing in Whangārei. Photo: Northern Advocate / Michael Cunningham

Northland DHB chair Harry Burkhardt (Ngāti Kahu) said his organisation was looking closely at what could be done to further boost iwi/hapū vaccination figures.

Working more closely with Māori health providers was among options being looked into.

The North's first Northland DHB vaccination drive through clinics were held yesterday, one in Dargaville, the other at Semenoff Stadium in Whangārei - to help boost vaccinations for Māori and those in the general population.

Jeanette Wedding, Northland DHB senior officer responsible for the Covid-19 vaccination programme, said all vaccination drive through clinics were by appointment only.

"These clinics all require bookings - there are no walk ins," Wedding said.

There will be another at Northland Events Centre carpark today, along with Kerikeri's first.

These will be followed with a further Whangārei vaccination drive through clinic, but at Kioreroa Road tomorrow, Thursday and Saturday.

This Kioreroa Road clinic was expected to be in action throughout September and open Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturday weekly.

Meanwhile, the Dargaville drive through clinic, in collaboration with Te Ha Oranga, will be held in the Kaipara town again on Wednesday.

Kerikeri's drive through vaccination clinics are to be held tomorrow and on Thursday.

Wedding said information about the vaccination drive through clinics would be updated on the Northland DHB's website.

She said Māori health providers, general practitioners and pharmacies were also providing vaccinations.

Burkhardt, also Te Kahu o Taonui (Northland Iwi chairs) chair, said vaccination was a crucial part of iwi and hapū protecting themselves.

He said the Covid-19 Delta variant posed a much higher risk than New Zealand had previously experienced.

"Stay home, save lives. Get vaccinated and get tested," Burkhardt said.

He encouraged whānau to build on this kaupapa by getting vaccinated, particularly in the wake of Auckland's Covid-19 situation.

Vaccination across all age groups was needed.

He cited a vaccinated Far North kuia who had called him to say "tell those young people to get vaccinated too".

Organisations wanted to support and empower whānau in their vaccination decision making.

Vaccination options for iwi and hapū were definitely being boosted in the wake of what was happening in Auckland, he said.

New Zealand's first community case of the Delta Covid-19 variant was confirmed last week in Auckland, the country going straight into a snap level 4 lockdown on Tuesday 17 August, and yesterday that was extended.

Burkhardt said Covid-19 elimination was still the government's strategy.

He was among 100 New Zealand iwi leaders at an online government Covid-19 update meeting on Friday.

Regular all-of-the-North meetings between iwi/hapū and relevant local agencies, set up during last year's Covid-19 lockdowns, have been reinstated in the wake of the current Delta outbreak.

no metadata

Local Democracy Reporting is a public interest news service supported by RNZ, the News Publishers' Association and NZ On Air.

  • Māori communities swing into action as health professionals sound warning
  • Māori and Pacific health groups worried by low vaccination rates
  • Mobile vaccine clinics to hit Eastern Bay of Plenty
  • New Covid-19 vaccination clinic in Ōtautahi booked out for 10 days