Health providers have received a $650,000 boost in funding to help get 90 per cent of Māori in the South Island fully vaccinated against Covid-19.
As of this week, 22,792 doses are needed to achieve the target, including 8844 first doses.
Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu – the South Island Whānau Ora Commissioning Agency received the funding from the Government to increase Māori vaccination rates.
The Government has committed $120 million to increase Māori vaccine rates, with $60m immediately ring-fenced for North Island areas with high Māori populations, including Counties Manukau, Lakes, Northland and Waikato health board areas, Te Pūtahitanga o Waipounamu chief executive Helen Leahy said.
She said most of the remaining $60m had been “rightly” allocated to providers in Covid-19 affected regions in the North Island.
“Currently we have 2934 active Delta cases in the North Island, and four in the South Island and so that disparity means that we knew the bulk of the funding would go to the North Island, and we are absolutely supportive of that because it’s a massive job they are working on.”
According to Ministry of Health data, as of November 2, just under 10,000 vaccine doses were needed to reach the 90 per cent fully vaccinated target for South Island Māori, Leahy said.
As of Wednesday, 78.6 per cent of the South Island’s Māori population had received a single dose of the vaccine, and 60.6 per cent were fully vaccinated. This compared with 91.2 per cent of non-Māori single dose vaccinated and 79.5 per cent double vaccinated.
The South Island’s Covid-19 funding will go to five kaupapa Māori providers in Invercargill, Queenstown, Alexandra, Westport and Ōtautahi, and be used to deliver, support and promote the vaccine, Leahy said.
A mobile vaccine initiative by Otago University Māori/Indigenous Health Institute was one of the beneficiaries of the funding and Leahy hoped it would be able to expand its services.
Te Pūtahitanga o Waipounamu Whānau Ora navigators would be funded to engage with whānau who use food banks, Leahy said.
“One of the things is to talk to them about having a Covid plan – what happens if you have a whānau member who has Covid, who do you need to contact, what will be essential in your household.
“Trying to put some context around Covid is our reality, and we need all our families to be preparing for that reality.”
Te Pūtahitanga o Waipounamu, which receives funding annually from Te Puni Kokiri – the Ministry of Māori Development, partners with 56 NGOs and other organisations. It has 117 Whānau Ora navigators who support whānau through crisis, accessing services and achieving goals.
The agency also funds projects and groups that support Whānau Ora goals.
Leahy said a few Whānau Ora navigators had said they did not want to get the Covid-19 vaccine, but she did not have exact numbers.
Despite the relative safety of the South Island at the moment, Leahy said Māori cases had grown at a disproportionately faster rate than non-Māori cases.
“So you have to think, what can we all do to focus on a population which is younger, which was disadvantaged from the start, in terms of the staggering of the vaccination.”
Leahy said Te Pūtahitanga o Waipounamu fully supported the legal action taken by its North Island counterpart, the Whānau Ora Commissioning Agency, to get access to ministry-held vaccine and contact data of all Māori in areas where vaccination rates were low.
While some South Island GPs had provided contact data for their enrolled Māori patients to Māori health providers during the vaccine roll-out, it did not include those who were not enrolled.
Leahy said all Māori would benefit if the legal action taken by Whānau Ora was successful.
“It’s about how to get shared ownership for the best outcomes for Māori.”
Access to the data would not over-ride respect for people’s privacy, or requests to not be contacted, Leahy said.
Source : https://www.stuff.co.nz/pou-tiaki/126932515/south-island-mori-receive-fraction-of-funds-for-covid19-vaccine-rollout1062