National | Jacinda Ardern

Hauora leaders want say in tamariki vaccinations

Māori health leaders are calling on the government to step aside when it comes to vaccinating Māori children.

With vaccination rates for Māori children aged between 5-11 yrs old lagging behind the rest of the country, Māori want to formulate their own plan to raise the rates of vaccination among the most vulnerable group.

According to the statistics, of 115,000 Māori children, only 28,000 have had their first dose, which adds up to only 24%. That's led a call from Dasme Nida Glavish to "let Māori speak".

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern arrived at a vaccination centre at the Massey University campus on Auckland's North Shore today and Glavish challenged the government to allow Māori an opportunity to design a plan to vaccinate Māori children.

"Where does the Treaty of Waitangi sit in all of these plans?"

Māori health advocate Naida Glavish says Māori want a partnership between them and the government.

"This is a discussion that iwi leaders have had, where do iwi sit in relation to vaccination for Māori children?"

Whānau and parents' responsibility

The prime minister says Māori must trust the road set out by the government.

"Whānau can have faith in the decisions that are being made, they're not political. They are made by experts who understand all the evidence and all of the data"

The prime minister and Glavish agree that the responsibility rests on whānau and parents to get kids vaccinated.

"Make it possible for whānau to get all the information they need, because it is their decision. The vaccination of children solely sits, the decision sits with parents, caregivers and whānau,"

Glavish says Māori must be pono.

"If we can't talk honestly with the parents, then they will not believe those things we are saying to them about their children."