Govt must release Māori vaccination data to Whānau Ora

Rather than talk about doing more to increase vaccine uptake, the Government should give Whānau Ora providers access to data that will help get Māori vaccinated against Covid-19, National’s Whānau Ora spokesperson Harete Hipango says.

“Yesterday Health Minister Andrew Little admitted that the Government needs to do more to increase the Covid-19 vaccination rates among Māori in Aotearoa – it’s something we’ve heard over and over.

“But at the same time his Government won’t release data crucial to help Whanau Ora engage with Māori and encourage uptake of the vaccine.”

Auckland's Te Whānau O Waipareira Trust Chief Executive John Tamihere said on Tuesday that the current booking systems aren’t working for Māori. He said access to Government data would allow providers to invite whānau to get their vaccine shots, and increase capabilities in having Māori deal with other Māori.

“The Ministry of Health and its District Health Boards should be making data available to the community network providers to enable more engagement with the vaccine rollout.

“New ways to engage like the vaccination bus are fine, but the Government should also be focusing on strategies which are fundamental to maximising the uptake of the vaccine for New Zealand’s vulnerable groups, of which we know Māori are one.

“Excuses like privacy reasons aren’t good enough given the current low uptake of the vaccine by Māori. We need to get as many people vaccinated as possible and this is one way to target a group who have been slow to engage.

“Whānau Ora is about family wellbeing, and right now an important part of that wellbeing is getting whānau vaccinated. The Government should be using all the tools in the toolbox to do so, and that includes giving Whānau Ora access to data that will encourage vaccine uptake.”