Wairoa, with a population of nearly 70 percent Maori, was at the forefront with the launch of the Covid vaccine, but has hit a roadblock.
Although complete vaccination rates are the highest in Hawke’s Bay, top-notch doses are lagging behind.
The prime minister will visit the city today, among others, in an effort to increase vaccination figures.
Kahungunu Executive runs vaccination centers in Wairoa, in the city and in the marae.
Their clinical leader, Julie Duffell, said they were a bit calmer now than when they started.
“Like most places, we have hit a small hurdle,” he said.
“Wairoa right now, only 65 percent have received their first vaccination, so we have 35 percent of our people who are not vaccinated at this stage.”
They did a survey before the vaccines started, which had some surprising results.
“We knew we had a great job ahead of us. We were seeing 30-35 percent who were willing to get vaccinated, 40 percent who were unsure but willing to have a conversation, and a good 30 percent who were absolutely not. no interest in being vaccinated, and that is obviously what has happened at the moment. “
12-year-old Oryn Fasso was at the clinic. He said he was nervous about receiving the jab and was relieved when he did.
But his friends had not been vaccinated.
“None of them have. They think it’s silly.”
His father Anton was there too and said it was a family decision.
“Well I wouldn’t say I was indecisive, it was probably just that it was a whānau thing – if we were all going to get it or if we didn’t get it, then none of us were going to get it. We Maori, it’s also an extended whānau, so if mom would get it, if my partner would get it, if her sisters would get it. We’re still trying to convince some of our whānau to be honest. “
The city’s only GP, Queen St Practice, based at Wairoa Hospital, helped lead the vaccination charge.
Its director Marion Terry agreed with Anton Fasso. She said the government’s age bands and group structure weren’t ideal for Wairoa.
“In this community, this is based on whānau, so we had to overlook some of those [group structure] for our group to enter, our whānau. For the most part, we welcome people of all ages and we don’t turn anyone away. “
He had several large self-service clinics around the enclosure, some days vaccinating 1,000 people.
But they had seen him disappear, and Dr. Anne Hurly had a reason.
“So much misinformation on social media that it has really hooked people and sometimes people are under pressure from other family members who are anti-vax,” he said.
Nurse Bobby Kaimoana said some had even secretly come to get vaccinated.
“They are even wearing their hoodies in the car, because they don’t want their whānau to see them, because they come from a small area that is completely anti-vax.”
Wairoa Taiwhenua Chairman Nigel How, who is also on Ngāti Kahungunu’s iwi board, said that some iwi funds were used to get movie tickets and give them encouragement.
“Basically you get a jab, you get a movie ticket [local] Theater of joy. As of Monday, Queen St Practice had made 840 hits and given away 840 tickets. “
He said one-on-one conversations were the key.
“Many people are still unsure due to the harmful effects of misinformation on social media and that’s fine, but many of them appreciate face-to-face time with a real healthcare professional, so I know quite a few of our Health professionals have been doing it to allay whatever fears people have about the vaccine. ”
The latest statistics, as of Wednesday, show that 66 percent of eligible people in Wairoa received their first dose, compared to more than three-quarters in Hawke’s Bay overall.
While nearly 9 out of 10 people over the age of 70 are vaccinated, the younger generation is where vaccination rates are the lowest.
About a quarter of the 12 to 24-year-olds had been fully vaccinated and 40 to 50 percent had a dose, lower than in other parts of the region.
Local organizations said they would launch a campaign to get the rangatahi to strike, and they hoped the prime minister’s visit would make a difference.