National | Covid-19 Testing

Māori and Pasifika not required to book at any Whānau Ora vaccination provider

From tomorrow, Māori and Pasifika will not be required to book in to get their vaccinations at any Whānau Ora vaccination provider.

Whānau Ora Commissioning Agency chief executive John Tamihere says this is the solution to lift the poor numbers of Māori being vaccinated.

He says the current system only works for middle-class Asian and Pākeha New Zealanders who can make appointments and have the resources to stay in queues at drive-throughs or walk-ins.

“We need to ensure equality of access. The only way to achieve that is to have a no booking approach for Māori and Pasifika people. All vaccination centres have excess capacity to cater for this demand if it eventuates,” Tamihere says.

He says the proof is in the data collected by the agency, The analysis from yesterday showed Māori being vaccinated at the lowest rate compared with non-Māori non-Pasifika. Also, Māori whānau have the lowest full vaccination status, at 19.4 percent per 1,000 of the eligible population with Pasifika the second-lowest.

“For example, Tāmaki Makaurau Whānau Ora Partner - Te Whānau o Waipareira. As of today’s date we have vaccinated 57,401 Kiwis. Out of that number, we have vaccinated fewer than 3000 Māori,’ Tamihere says.

As of tomorrow, Saturday, September 4, Whānau Ora will run a social media campaign targeting large Māori populations through kura, sports clubs, Māori electoral rolls and social services databases to point out their right to arrive at the closest vaccination centre to their place of residence.

“Tāmaki Makaurau should be targeted positively with vaccination supply, should there be any difficulty experienced by the national supply chain,” he says.

Tamihere says vaccination centres have the capacity to scale up operations.

“We are fully aware that numbers directed to vaccination centres by the Ministry of Health in no way meet the full capacity of each vaccination centre. For example at our Catherine Street, West Auckland Waipareira vaccination centre, we can average between 650 and 750 booked appointments. We, on average, vaccinate over 1000 at this centre.

"But on average up to 100 people do not show for their appointments per day.”