24 Aug 2021

Inequity embedded in vaccine rollout - National Māori Pandemic Group

3:05 pm on 24 August 2021

Māori health agencies have been in full swing trying to reduce the inequity in the vaccine rollout.

Dr Rawiri McKree Jansen said the premature death statistics from Counties Manukau Health highlight the state of the healthcare system.

Photo: LDR / Stephen Forbes

By proportion of population, far fewer Māori are fully vaccinated than any other ethnic group.

As of Monday, 156,000 Māori had received a dose of the vaccine, with 92,000 of them fully vaccinated.

Te Rōpū Whakakaupapa Urutā - the National Māori Pandemic Group co-chair Rawiri Jansen, told Midday Report inequity had been embedded into the vaccine rollout.

Dr Jansen, who was working at West Auckland's Trusts Arena, said there was a massive iwi-led drive to overcome that.

"What we are doing now is unleashing a whole lot of activity to bend the vaccination programme towards equity," he said.

"Māori are absolutely accepting of the vaccine when it's available and offered. We've got 88,000 Māori in Auckland who haven't even had the first dose, we're going to make a dent in that straight away."

"Whānau, take the opportunity, haere mai," Jansen said.

John Tamihere outside Auckland High Court.

John Tamihere. Photo: RNZ / Anneke Smith

Auckland's Waipareiria Trust chief executive John Tamihere said people appeared to be more panicked by this lockdown than any last year.

The Māori social agency is running testing centres and vaccine clinics in West Auckland.

Tamihere told Midday Report there has been huge demand.

"This lockdown is totally different to the one last year, solely because Delta is more vigorous and therefore it's panicked more people," Tamihere said.

"We're noticing a lot more bubbles in cars and therefore the stress on your testing line increases when you're having to do four or five a car, and so that's increased."

Tamihere is asking people to give workers at the clinics space, as they are working long hours.

He said there was enough vaccine supply, but they were still working to get the right systems in place to deploy it.

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