28 Apr 2015

Waikato kaumatua urged to get flu jab

7:53 pm on 28 April 2015

A Waikato District Health Board official worries if local kaumatua aren't vaccinated from influenza, the ripple effect could harm Maori culture.

General manager of the Maori unit, Ditre Tamatea, said there are about 90,000 tangata whenua in the area, of which 2,000 are kaumatua.

As of last week only about 105 elders had been vaccinated.

Mr Tamatea said influenza is not just a cold as it can lead to hospitalisation and in some cases death.

He said it was important kaumatua got immunised because they were the keepers of Maori knowledge and history.

Mr Tamatea said the duty to protect the physical health and well-being of kaumatua extended to safe-guarding the social, spiritual and cultural dimensions of Maori.

Ditre Tamatea said immunisation for men and women over 65 years old is free.

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