The Green Party is calling on the Government to do everything it can to boost the Māori vaccination rate to over 90% of the eligible population, and to prioritise Māori and Pasifika providers in the rollout of vaccinations to 5-11 year olds, now that Medsafe has provisionally approved its use for the younger age group.
“We are pleased New Zealand has reached 90% of the eligible population fully vaccinated, but there is still a lot more work to do to ensure Māori, their whānau, friends and communities have the same level of protection from the virus,” says Green Party spokesperson for COVID-19 response Dr Elizabeth Kerekere.
“Right now, only 76% of Māori are fully vaccinated across the country, and 86% first dose. The rate is considerably lower in rural areas and particularly among younger Māori.
“However, the efforts to get our Māori and Pasifika communities vaccinated do continue to trend up, and this is happening because of the remarkable efforts of our community providers and local leaders.
“Reaching the 90% milestone for the eligible population is great news, but it highlights the need for ongoing outreach and mobile vaccination clinics in rural areas, particularly over the holiday period. It is really important we keep working to get our whānau beyond the 90% milestone as quickly as possible.
“Lessons from the vaccination rollout must be learnt as we get ready to vaccinate our tamariki aged five to 11 years. This includes making sure Māori and Pasifika providers are prioritised so they can focus on what works for Māori and Pasifika kids.
“The Greens have always said Māori must be prioritised and empowered to lead their own vaccinations programmes for whānau,” says Dr Elizabeth Kerekere.