Saturday, December 4

Health experts to work with Mongrel Mob on questions about vaccines

A health expert who will headline a vaccination event against Waikato’s mixed race mafia next week says it is a duty of care to help inform all New Zealanders.

Collin Tukuitonga and David Jansen

Collin Tukuitonga and Dr. David Jansen.
Photo: PMA / LDR / Stephen Forbes

The government has said that large numbers of gang members have been affected by the outbreak.

University of Auckland Associate Professor of Public Health Collin Tukuitonga said Morning report the session will involve gang members and their whānau.

The co-leader of the National Maori Pandemic Group, Dr. Rawiri Jansen, and Tukuitonga will lead the session next week.

Dr. Jansen said Morning report It will not be the first time I have spoken to groups about the importance of vaccination.

“I was at the ports at six in the morning. I was at MIQ, I worked with border security personnel, I worked with airport personnel, I was in Kaikohe, I was in Wharekahika.

“If a community calls and says, ‘We’d like some help, we’d like the opportunity to have some questions or talk about Covid and the vaccine,’ my answer is yes.

“I think it’s really important that we reach out and support the communities that are interested in having the conversation.”

He rejected any suggestion that the meeting could be a public relations exercise.

“You don’t need to worry about it being a public relations exercise, what you need to worry about is that we are actually reaching out and working with the communities to get the best vaccination program this country needs.”

Dr. Jansen said gangs are less likely to welcome conventional public health messages.

“They’re not going to say ‘yes, send us mainstream public health messages and we’ll understand.’ Well, you know, it’s a group that will be distant from mainstream messages.

“But if we really are a team of 5 million, then we have to reach out to all parts of our community, do a really good job so we can raise vaccination rates and get the most protection possible.”

Tukuitonga said Morning report the meeting was not just about members of the mafia.

“There are whānau involved there, you know, moms and young people, and we have a duty to inform them as best we can.”

The government has said that large numbers of gang members have been affected by the outbreak.

Tukuitonga said there had been some “hype and hysteria” in the messages surrounding the gang members involved in the outbreak, and if the rules were broken, the gangs weren’t the only ones who outwitted them.

“There are indiscretions everywhere and I don’t really know what is going on with the gang community.

“All I know is that I think we have a duty to share information with them, I’m not sure that pointing fingers at different groups is very helpful.

“We are in this together and we have to do what is best for everyone, and that is why I decided to face it and see if I can answer your questions.”

Dr. Bryan Betty of Porirua Union and Community Health.

Dr. Bryan Betty of Porirua Union and Community Health.
Photo: RNZ / Karen Brown

Porirua Union and Community Health physician and College of GPs medical director Dr. Bryan Betty said poverty is a contributing factor to the disproportionate number of unvaccinated people in vulnerable communities.

“In many ways, what Covid has done is show the inequities that we have in the medical system loud and clear, I think these vaccination rates are beginning to show certain parts of the country where access to medical care and commitment to care Conventional medical practice is really very very difficult due to depravity and inequity. “

Dr. Betty said that a number of social and medical inequalities are contributing to the low rates of vaccine uptake in the Maori communities of Porirua.

“There is often a long history of mistrust in the medical system, there is often distance or not the ability to participate, many of the patients I see in East Porirua have a really traumatic education and commitment to the system, be it justice. , the police or health.

“I think there is a degree of mistrust in terms of what is going on and that is combined with a lot of misinformation out there right now.”

However, the prevalence of misinformation also plays a role.

With several doctors recently reported to the medical council for allegedly spreading misinformation, Betty said the actions of a small minority of doctors can have a “disruptive” effect on the level of vaccine reluctance within vulnerable communities.

“Disinformation is one aspect of what we are seeing here, if you are living in poverty, if you are worried about your house and feeding your children, running two or three jobs just to survive (then) it does not prioritize your health.

“It’s something that we continually see in the system, so we have higher rates of diabetes, higher rates of cardiovascular disease, and higher rates of mental health problems, alcohol and drugs and then Covid is just an extension of what we see. “.

Dr Betty hoped that the pandemic would have shown the government and the Health and Disability Review that they must address the lack of adequate resources from the medical systems in areas like Porirua and South Auckland.

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