8 Oct 2021

Covid-19 vaccinations: Court sets date over bid to access Māori health data

6:54 pm on 8 October 2021

A date has been set for an urgent court hearing on the Whānau Ora Commissioning Agency's request for access to Māori health information.

Covid-19 vaccination centre sign

The rate for Māori vaccination was sitting at just over 57 percent for a first dose compared with 81 percent of Pākehā earlier this week. Photo: Supplied via LDR

The agency wants the information from the Ministry of Health, to launch a targeted Covid-19 vaccination programme in Māori communities where rates are low.

In a minute this afternoon, Justice Mallon said the matter required urgency, although the Ministry of Health is considering the request and expects to make a decision by the end of next week.

A hearing has been scheduled in the High Court at Wellington for 22 October.

John Tamihere heads the North Island's Whānau Ora Commissioning Agency and the Te Whānau o Waipareira which runs two mass vaccination centres.

Earlier this week he said Whānau Ora needs the right information for the vaccination of Māori to work.

He told RNZ the Ministry of Health's data is vital to closing the dangerous gap in the vaccination rates.

The rate for Māori was sitting at just over 57 percent for a first dose compared with 81 percent of Pākehā.

"Tai Tokerau is way behind, the Bay of Plenty is way behind. These are Māori communities. It's not that they're stupid and dumb, it's that they're poorer and their priorities are different and it takes time to reach them," Tamihere said.

The Ministry of Health said this week it cannot share the data because many of the people are not enrolled with Whānau Ora so officials are not authorised to hand it over.

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