2 Sep 2021

Pacific health, vaccination services to get $26m extra funding

11:29 am on 2 September 2021

The government is to give a $26 million boost to support Pacific communities during the current outbreak of Covid-19.

Aupito William Sio.

Associate Minister of Health Aupito William Sio. Photo: RNZ / Dom Thomas

Associate Minister of Health Aupito William Sio said the funding would go towards Pacific health and disability services, community vaccination services and improving communications to specific groups within the Pacific community.

The minister said Pacific providers had proven that they are an essential part of the government's response to this outbreak.

"In the August 2020 outbreak and today, they are the heroes on the frontline everyday out there keeping our families and communities safe," he said in a statement.

"These providers are known and trusted by the communities that they both live and work in. They have the language skills and the cultural intelligence required for the most effective response.

"E fofo e le alamea le alamea, the solutions for our challenges lie within communities," he said.

Aupito William Sio told Morning Report vaccination levels for the Pasifika community were are moving in the right direction.

"We're dealing with a virus that nobody really knows how it will ravage through our population and when it's hitting populations vulnerable in so many different ways it's particularly concerning to us."

As at Wednesday 134,701 Pacific people have had a first dose of vaccine, and of these 74,157 are fully vaccinated with two doses. For the total population, 2.29 million people have had a first dose, of which 1.21m are fully vaccinated.

"We did target South Auckland, with high proportions of Māori and Pasifika," he said, with mass vaccination events and mobile and pop-up vaccination centres.

"Auckland is a big place, it's much more complex and diverse, we don't all speak the same language, but we're moving ahead in the right direction."

"I'm particularly pleased about the way Pacific providers across the country stepped up to do their part not only to vaccinate Pacific people but doing their part to make sure they're vaccinating the whole community," he said.

Just over 70 percent of the Covid-19 cases are Pasifika. About 16 families were isolating at home and the rest were in quarantine facilities, the minister said.

Pacific providers were helping families who had tested positive, not only with tests and getting isolated, but providing pastoral care and food support, he said.

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