PRESS RELEASE: Vulnerable populations need to be first to get their first vaccination

Aug 20, 2021

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PRESS RELEASE 20/08/2021
Vulnerable populations need to be first to get their first vaccination

National Hauora Coalition (NHC) supports Te Rōpū Whakakaupapa Urutā’s call for the New Zealand Government to immediately prioritise Māori and Pasifika in the COVID-19 vaccination programme (Te Rōpū Whakakaupapa Urutā 19 August 2020 media release “Unvaccinated Māori and Pasifika must be prioritised to receive their first COVID-19 vaccination”).

Research has shown that both Māori and Pasifika are the populations most at risk in regard to COVID¹  yet there are approximately 130,000 Māori and Pasifika in Auckland who have yet to receive their first vaccination.

Simon Royal, NHC Chief Executive, said

“with the current outbreak in the Auckland community, we must move immediately to protect those who are most vulnerable, and the science shows this is our Māori and Pasifika communities. Our vaccination program must prioritise all Māori and Pasifika to get their first vaccination first. This is not only true for Auckland, but for any other communities that are at risk. We need to be using our vaccine supply to protect our most vulnerable”.

Mr Royal continued “this would confirm the Government’s stated commitment to equity. This is not about Māori privilege. There is no privilege in being more likely to die from COVID. This is about protecting those who are most vulnerable. This about doing what is right.”

¹ Modelling of the risk of Covid-19 found 5,000 Māori and 7,500 Pasifika would require hospital level care in Counties Manukau alone if there was community transmission. Source: Māori and Pacific people in New Zealand have a higher risk of hospitalisation for COVID-19, New Zealand Medical Journal, 9 July 2021)

About National Hauora Coalition
The NHC kaupapa is mana whānau, whānau ora and is a lead advocate for hauora Māori (Wai 2687) through the Waitangi Tribunal Health Services Kaupapa Inquiry (Wai 2575). In its day to day activities NHC partners with a wide range of agencies, Iwi and industry groups to commission and deliver a broad range of indigenously designed health and social services to improve health outcomes for Māori, achieve health equity and greater social cohesion for the benefit of Aotearoa.

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For further information please contact:
James Spencer
+64 21 243 2486
jamess@nhc.maori.nz