14 Jan 2022

Capital and Coast DHB hits 90% double vaccinated for eligible Māori

11:39 am on 14 January 2022

The Capital and Coast District Health Board is the first to hit 90 percent of Māori fully vaccinated.

Vaccination centre

A health services provider says staff will not be taking their feet "off the pedal" when they reach the milestone. Photo: RNZ / Angus Dreaver

The Ministry of Health said the region, which covers Wellington, Porirua and Kāpiti, reached the milestone on Thursday.

Waitematā, MidCentral, Wairarapa, Hutt Valley and Southern have all passed 90 percent for first doses.

Capital and Coast DHB chief executive Fionnagh Dougan said this showed the dedication and perseverance from all those working to get to this milestone.

"Each week our providers pore over detailed information showing which suburbs need more attention and devise the best way to reach them, shifting their approach based on experience and evolving knowledge of our communities," she said.

"While the vaccination campaign involved work similar to what the Māori providers had been doing for many years, the scale and speed required has been well above the norm."

After the wider age groups became eligible, the focus shifted to those who were hesitant and wanted more information and reassurance.

"This part of the rollout required a lot of listening, concerted engagement, local leadership and the ability to pivot quickly as different concerns and challenges arose. Genuine and patient kōrero was key.

"As vaccination percentages climbed past 80 percent we needed to reach more deeply into communities. At times it was challenging, but teams were determined to continue their work to protect their communities."

Kahungunu Whānau Services chief executive Ali Hamlin-Paenga said it will be great to reach the milestone, but there is still mahi to do.

"I still think we need to keep focused on that 10 percent and keep the momentum going. The only other thing that comes to mind is those of our population that aren't registered with a GP and whose data may not be getting captured in one form or another," Hamlin-Paenga said.

"We are keeping the foot on the pedal in terms of vaccinations. There is Omicron that is on our doorstep, there is Delta that is still on our doorstep."

She said they need to stay motivated and keep working on not only vaccinations, but also swabbing for Covid-19.

"We will be shifting our response to living with Covid rather than responding to Covid," she said.

Hamlin-Paenga said the agency is preparing to help with the rollout for 5 to 11-year-olds, which starts next week.

"We will continue to work from a whānau centred position rather than focusing on an individual in that age-group. They also have kuia, koro, mum and dad, aunty or uncle that we need to consider in that process.

"We need to ensure our whānau are well educated on the difference between the vaccination for tamariki in relation to adults."

Tū Ora Compass Health kaiwhakahaere Māori Cherie Seamark said she was delighted to celebrate the result which would help protect the most vulnerable whānau and communities.

"From day one we have had a pro-equity vaccination approach for this kaupapa," Seamark said.

"We've worked hard to provide culturally appropriate services for wider whānau groups accessing our vaccination and testing sites," she said.

"Being connected to the community, having the right people in place, acknowledging the power of connections and understanding what our people needed to be able to remove barriers to access have been powerful tools in this kaupapa.

"He waka eke noa, we're all in this together."

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