Saturday, December 4

Northland Māori Covid-19 Vaccination Rates Are Four Times Lower

Northland Māori Covid-19 vaccination rates are almost four times lower than those of Pākehā.

Kensington Health Hub runs through Vaccination Style Clinic, Kensington Crossing Mall, Whangarei.

Covid-19 vaccination processing in Whangārei.
Photo: Northern Attorney / Michael Cunningham

The latest figures from the Northland District Health Board (DHB) show that 100,095 Covid-19 vaccines had been administered in Tai Tokerau, just under 12 percent of the beneficiaries listed as Maori.

This compared to 45 percent of recipients listed as European and “other.” 11,672 vaccinations were administered to Maori, compared with 45,258 for those listed as European ethnicity.

Northland has one of the highest proportions of Maori in New Zealand in its population: up to around 50 percent in the Far North, around 30 percent in Whangārei district, and 25 percent in Kaipara.

Vaccination rates for Pasifika were even lower, with just 772 vaccines, less than 1 percent of the vaccines given so far.

Figures from Northland DHB also show that those whose ethnicity was listed as Asian received 2,727 vaccinations, just under 3 percent of those administered.

About a third of Northland’s vaccines have gone to people with two doses of vaccine, the rest, however, to those with only one dose.

Northland DHB President Harry Burkhardt (Ngāti Kahu) said his organization was closely looking at what could be done to further boost iwi / hapū vaccination figures.

Working more closely with Maori healthcare providers was one of the options being explored.

Northland DHB’s first vaccination campaign through clinics was held yesterday, one in Dargaville and the other at the Semenoff Stadium in Whangārei, to help boost vaccinations for Maori and the general population.

Jeanette Wedding, the senior Northland DHB officer responsible for the Covid-19 vaccination program, said that all vaccination drives through the clinics were conducted by appointment only.

“All of these clinics require reservations, there are no walk-ins,” Wedding said.

There will be another in the Northland Events Center parking lot today, along with Kerikeri’s first.

These will be followed with a new vaccination campaign against Whangārei through the clinic, but on Kioreroa Road tomorrow, Thursday and Saturday.

This Kioreroa Road clinic was expected to be in action throughout September and open on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays weekly.

Meanwhile, the Dargaville drive through the clinic, in collaboration with Te Ha Oranga, will be held again in the city of Kaipara on Wednesday.

Kerikeri’s campaign through the vaccination clinics will take place tomorrow and Thursday.

Wedding said information about the vaccination drive through the clinics would be updated on the Northland DHB website.

He said Maori health providers, general practitioners and pharmacies were also providing vaccines.

Burkhardt, also president of Te Kahu or Taonui (Northland Iwi presidents), said vaccination is a crucial part for the iwi and hapū to protect themselves.

He said that the Covid-19 Delta variant posed a much greater risk than New Zealand had previously experienced.

“Stay home, save lives. Get vaccinated and get tested,” Burkhardt said.

He encouraged whānau to take advantage of this kaupapa by getting vaccinated, particularly in the wake of the Covid-19 situation in Auckland.

Vaccination was needed in all age groups.

He quoted a vaccinated Kuia from the Far North who had called him to say “tell those young people to get vaccinated too.”

The organizations wanted to support and empower whānau in making decisions about vaccination.

Vaccination options for iwi and hapū were definitely being boosted in the wake of what was happening in Auckland, he said.

New Zealand’s first community case of the Delta Covid-19 variant was confirmed last week in Auckland, the country directly entered a level 4 lockdown on Tuesday, August 17, and it spread yesterday.

Burkhardt said that eliminating Covid-19 remained the government’s strategy.

He was among New Zealand’s 100 iwi leaders at an online government Covid-19 update meeting on Friday.

Regular meetings across the north between iwi / hapū and relevant local agencies, established during last year’s Covid-19 shutdowns, have been re-established in the wake of the current Delta outbreak.

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Local Democracy Reporting is a public interest news service supported by RNZ, the Association of News Publishers, and NZ On Air.

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