Saturday, November 27

Marae drive-thru vaccines: ‘I want to do it in my own community’

Plenty of people lined up at Auckland’s first drive-thru vaccination site in a marae today, an initiative many hope will drive low vaccination rates among Maori.

Te Rangiura Royal with her mother Matire Harwood at Auckland's first vaccination site.

Te Rangiura Royal with her mother Matire Harwood at Auckland’s first vaccination site.
Photo: RNZ / Te Aniwa Hurihanganui

Thirty-five employees are in charge of the site in Papakura Marae and expect to vaccinate 500 people a day.

Fifteen-year-old Te Rangiura Royal was masked and ready to go.

The Kings College student was a bit nervous about being among the first young teens in the country to be vaccinated, and now 12-15 year olds are eligible.

“I’m nervous. I just hope it doesn’t hurt,” he said.

Te Rangiura was joined by her mother, Maori GP Matire Harwood.

“I’m more nervous that he’s going to pass out on camera, and I thought of all the kids who were going to pass out on camera, it would be my son,” she joked.

The couple could have been vaccinated at any number of vaccination sites in South Auckland, but specifically they wanted it to be done in a place where they felt more at home.

“They invited us to go to the vaccination center at the airport for the weekend and I spoke to him, but he said, ‘no mom, I want to do it in my own community,’ that’s why we came here.”

Papakura Marae CEO Tony Kake said that was exactly why vaccination sites in marae were so vital, because they were places that Maori knew and trusted.

“Whanau Māori is confident and confident in our marae and I say it with a bit of gloating, but that is a fact,” he said.

“We really want to encourage our Maori whanau to go to any of the vaccination centers, not just Papakura Marae but anywhere in the country.”

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Photo: RNZ / Te Aniwa Hurihanganui

It is a message that Māori MPs from the Labor Party are also taking home, after coming under increasing pressure to increase vaccination rates for Maori.

Willie Jackson accepted today that the government’s response to the pandemic could have been better in some areas, but as of today changes were being made, including a new online portal on the Te Puni Kokiri website where Maori could obtain important information. about vaccines in one place.

“All that information comes out every day at one o’clock when the Prime Minister is speaking so that our people know what the vaccination rates are, [and] you will know which marae to go to, “he said.

Meanwhile, the Papakura Marae tour will be open from 9 to 4 every day of the week and no reservations are required.

Kake said the process was as easy as.

“First of all, you line up on the road, you get a great kia ora, kia ora, welcome, welcome! They do a quick screen, they get your NHI number, they get your data. From there, move on to our shot and get a puncture, “he said.

“We make left and right weapons, whatever window is free, we will put one!”

Vaccination program director Matt Hannant of the Northern Region Health Coordination Center said it could be the first of many marae car trips in Auckland.

“We are absolutely exploring that, we are having all kinds of conversations with a lot of different vendors,” he said.

“The drive-thru model is proving to be very popular with the community. We have reached over 40,000 people with the drive-thrus we have at the airport and at the Trust Arena.”

The 35 employees who work at the Papakura Marae drive-thru hope to vaccinate 500 people a day.

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