Ministry of Health told to review decision on North Island Māori vaccine data

6:42 am on 7 December 2021

The High Court has directed the Ministry of Health to again review its decision not to hand over data for unvaccinated North Island Māori to the Whānau Ora Commissioning Agency.

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File photo. Photo: RNZ / Dom Thomas

The agency first took the Ministry of Health to court in late October arguing it was critical information needed to boost vaccination rates and save lives.

Health officials had refused on the basis of privacy but the court said they had to reconsider.

Since then the ministry has given out some data about unvaccinated Māori in Waikato and Auckland, but the Commissioning Agency went back to court late last month saying that was not good enough.

It wants individual data for every unvaccinated Māori.

The court has told the ministry it now has three working days to make a decision on this.

It also must review its decision to provide data only on North Island Māori who have had one dose of the vaccine.

In a statement, the ministry said while the court had commented on aspects of the ministry's decision making in making data available to Whānau Ora and other Māori organisations, it had not directed the ministry to release all data to Whānau Ora.

It was taking steps to meet the requirements on completing its process of making decisions on providing the data, and reviewing its decision to provide data on Māori in the North Island who have had only a first dose.

The ministry was consulting a number of iwi about data-sharing with Whānau Ora, and will inform them of the court decision, the statement said.

"Māori health providers who don't already have access to specific, local data should talk to their usual DHB contact or to the ministry," Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield said in the statement.

The ministry had been sharing data with Whānau Ora about people who are unvaccinated and enrolled with Whānau Ora services since September, the statement said.

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