Associate Health Minister Peeni Henare is confident Māori and Pasifika communities most in need of the Covid-19 vaccine will be targeted in the vaccine rollout, even if South Auckland isn't prioritised.
As Whānau Ora Minister, Associate Minister of Health (Māori Health), and the MP for Tāmaki Makaurau, Henare said he was “passionate” about South Auckland, but he stopped short of agreeing with calls for the area to be given priority in the Covid-19 vaccine rollout.
“I can tell you that Māori and Pasifika are throughout the entire phases of the vaccine rollout programme,” Henare said.
“I’m confident that, and I want to talk to the whānau out there, that we are going to have a plan that will reach those communities who need it the most, and of course Māori and Pasifika are just an example of those communities who we will be targeting.”
The vaccine sequencing plan was laden with Treaty of Waitangi principles to ensure Māori were where they needed to be in the plan, Henare said.
“I can also tell you that the vaccine sequencing and plan is within it, embedded Tiriti o Waitangi principles, which actually push, in particular the Māori cohort into the space where it needs to for the vaccine rollout,” he said.
Henare said a large percentage of the South Auckland community would be given the jab in the first two phases of the Covid-19 vaccination rollout.
“We know that a large number of our communities in South Auckland will be caught in vaccination phases 1 and 2 and subsequent vaccination phases,” he told Breakfast.
“Phase 1 is a focus on our border workers and their families, which will capture a number of whānau in South Auckland.”
“Of course, as we continue to work on the sequencing framework for the vaccination rollout, I’m confident the right people will be vaccinated at the right time.”
“The messages we’ve heard from health officials and community advocates have come through loud and clear and we as a cabinet will continue to consider those as we map out how the vaccination programme will go.”