Māori Party 'appalled' Tairāwhiti residents had to fundraise to access Covid jabs

Source: 1News

The Māori Party expressed disappointment that some Tairāwhiti Gisborne locals had to fundraise for a mobile unit in order to vaccinate their community against Covid-19. 

Labelling it "appalling", Te Pāti Māori co-leader Rawiri Waititi said the Government's vaccination roll-out has been "mono-cultural". 

He's urging for a "by Māori for Māori" approach to be adopted, in order to help boost vaccination rates among Maori. 

"The Deputy Director-General for Māori Health on record said in one of the select committees that they haven't had time to pick up the Māori strategy because they've been to busy. 

"That means the results are showing for that." 

Te Whānau-a-Tūwhakairiora's Tina Ngata told Breakfast on Monday that there were no walk-in Covid-19 vaccination clinics in the area, with some having to travel up to three hours to get their jab. 

Some clinics aren't open daily and when open operate for limited hours, making it hard for people in isolated communities to get vaccinated.

"For some of our whānau it's logistically difficult," she said. 

A Givealittle page was set up to help fundraise for a mobile unit to allow vaccinators to reach all ends of their community.

Drive through vaccination community event in Auckland, September 25, 2021.

In two days, the page has raised over $123,000 to go towards a mobile unit for Tairāwhiti. 

Vaccination rates for Māori have lagged behind the national average, but things are looking up with a significant increase in vaccine uptake in the past week. 

Rawiri Waititi

Just over 60 per cent of Māori have had their first dose or more of the Pfizer vaccine, assisted by a big turn out at the Government's Super Saturday push for vaccinations.