Sunday, November 28

Tairāwhiti Community Leader Advocates Need for Vaccination Van to Raise Funds

All efforts have been made in Tairāwhiti to push for the low rate of Covid-19 vaccination.

Vaccination center sign

Vaccination center sign
Photo: RNZ // Angus Dreaver

The region, including Gisborne and the East Cape of the North Island, had the lowest Super Saturday numbers of any part of the country.

It also has the lowest first dose vaccination rate in the country.

But his people are committed to changing this, so much so that some have started a campaign to raise money for a vaccination van.

This is despite the prime minister saying that “there should be no need” to do this.

As of Monday night, Te Aroha Kanarahi Trust had raised more than $ 120,000 through Givealittle for the truck.

The trust, based in Wharekahika / Hicks Bay, near the upper Eastern Cape, wants the van to tour Ngāti Porou rohe, vaccinating the whānau in the hardest-to-reach areas.

Trust spokeswoman Tina Ngata said the health care system was not equitable for Maori, but they were eager to have that discussion now.

He said they had to vaccinate because there was an urgent need.

“The more immediate problem is that we need to increase our vaccination rates, we cannot wait to have that discussion until we vaccinate as many people as possible in the Eastern Cape. In the meantime, we just have to get up and run.”

Ngāti Porou Hauora is the main driver of the vaccination deployment along the coast.

Its CEO, Rose Kahaki, and its senior business manager, Cara-Lee Pewhairangi-Lawton, said they were unaware of Te Aroha Kanarahi’s idea until they saw Givealittle’s page.

But Kahaki said he supported any initiative that worked.

“Due to the impact that the Delta variant will have on our communities, which are mostly Maori, I am in favor of any community coming out and improving and encouraging our Whānau to get vaccinated.”

He already had plans in place, with daily clinics for at least the next two weeks at his health centers.

Cara-Lee Pewhairangi-Lawton of Ngāti Porou Hauora is leading the deployment of vaccination in her region.

Cara-Lee Pewhairangi-Lawton of Ngāti Porou Hauora is leading the deployment of vaccination in her region.
Photo: RNZ / Tom Kitchin

He also had a Te Puni Kōkiri (TPK) caravan, (called Waka Kōkiri) to hold large events and reach hard-to-reach communities.

Pewhairangi-Lawton said they were “about” to begin their school rollout for schools based on the coast, where they would use TPK’s Waka Kōkiri.

TPK’s Gisborne team leader Kemara Keelan said the truck would be used extensively through December.

“The next step is to deliver the Waka Kōkiri to Ngāti Porou Hauora, now we have trained them on how to use it and how to set it up, so that they can use the Waka Kōkiri or the caravan to transport themselves and the vaccines to the communities where they want to. get vaccinated. “

East Coast MP Kiri Allan said she was in talks with Ngāti Porou Hauora and DHB Hauora Tairāwhiti to find out what was best for the community.

“We have some really low vaccination rates, one of the lowest in the country, 74 percent of the total population has only had their first hit. For Maori it’s much worse, we’re sitting at 62 percent who have had their first jab and 45 percent who are fully vaccinated. “

East Coast MP Kiri Allan visits some of the communities of her electorate to discuss the launch of vaccination

East Coast MP Kiri Allan visits some of the communities of her electorate to discuss the launch of vaccination
Photo: RNZ / Tom Kitchin

He also wanted more nurses in the field, and he wanted this to happen as soon as possible, as well as a mobile clinic.

“What I hope to see is a fully equipped permanent GP mobile solution, a bus that has all the capabilities for any doctor’s office.”

Hauora Tairāwhiti CEO Jim Green said he would have liked to see more people on Saturday, but said there was some success.

“56 percent of the people who came for us on Saturday were Maori, and 67 percent of those people were getting the first doses for the Maori.”

He said 45 percent of the people who passed through Saturday were under 30 but still need to work harder in that space, especially for young Maori.

“The advice that we are receiving around rangatahi is information and media and identification with young people who are capable of giving them messages.”

At her post-cabinet press conference this afternoon, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said she saw the Givealittle page and had a strong message.

“No one, not a single region in this country, should have to rely on a fundraising campaign to establish something that we are working hard to fund and support.

“We put in extra money to support vaccination rates for Maori. I know they have mobile facilities in Tairāwhiti, because I’ve been in them. For me, it’s just a matter of putting the resource in the right place, so we have ministers working. about that as we speak. There is no need to raise funds to launch this vaccination campaign. “

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