Tagata Pasifika The Pacific voice on New Zealand television since 1987

Covid-19: Update on Pacific vaccination rates and drive-through events

Pacific vaccination fund Niue vaccine event
Photo: John Pulu
Ann-Tauilo Motuga | Videographer

Pacific leaders and communities are continuing to rally to increase immunisation rates for Pasifika in the fight against Covid.

Auckland-based GP Dr Api Talemaitoga says the push for vaccination by Pacific leaders and organisations has been great.

“I’m so proud of them: The Fono, South Seas, Bader Drive etc have really contributed to lifting the numbers — particularly in the younger age groups, where they got those younger people coming along, run by younger people for the younger Pacific community.”

But vaccination rates for younger Pacific people are still lagging behind.

As of November 14, Pasifika aged 20-34 have the lowest double vaccination rate of Pacific peoples in all three Auckland DHBs; Pasifika aged 12-19 have the second lowest  rate.

 

Covid-19 Vaccine Uptake by Ethnicity, Ageband and DHB. Photo: Ministry of Health
Covid-19 Vaccine Uptake by Ethnicity, Ageband and DHB. Photo: Ministry of Health

The double vaccination rate for Pasifika aged 20-34 is sitting at 68% in Auckland DHB, compared to 70% of 12–19 year olds and an overall 77% of all Pacific age groups; Counties-Manukau has a 65% rate for Pasifika aged 20-34, 70% for the 12-19 age group and an overall rate of 75%; and Waitematā is at 68% of 20-34 year olds and 73% of 12-19 year olds, with an overall rate of 77%.

“I think we need to continue these vaccination events and ask the community — what is going to work better for some of them to come along and get vaccinated?” Dr Api says.

“We’ve always pushed that the answers will come from the community. Ask them! We’ve only got two weeks now, particularly in Auckland. That’s a good time to push our vaccination rates further.”

Meanwhile, local groups such as the Tongan Health Society continue to run Pasifika-focused vaccination drives. Their MMT Ōtāhuhu Vaccination event will be held at King Street Carpark from 8:30am–5pm from tomorrow until Saturday 20 November.

pacific vaccination event auckland

The Marist Brothers Old Pupils Association (MBOPA) are also hosting an event. Their Marist Vax-A-Nation Drive thru will be held at the Māngere Town Centre from 9am – 6pm this Saturday, in partnership with South Seas Healthcare Trust. Food parcels will be given to the first 200 cars, and spot prizes and giveaways will be given throughout the day.

The aim for both vaccination events is to help push immunisation rates for all three Auckland DHBs closer to 90% double dosed and to encourage others to get their first shot.

Data released by MOH today reveals Waitematā is at a 78% rate for double-dosed Pacific people, compared to 86% of the overall Waitematā region; Auckland is sitting at a 77% double-dosed Pacific rate, compared to an overall rate of 86%; and Counties-Manukau’s Pacific rate is at 76%, compared to an overall rate of 83%.

Covid-19 statistics as of November 17. Photo: MOH
Covid-19 statistics as of November 17. Photo: Ministry of Health

With the new traffic light system expected to kick in soon, the Government has launched vaccine certificates for fully vaccinated people in time for summer.

My Vaccine Pass will be an official record of Covid-19 vaccination status, allowing access to things like concerts, festivals, gyms, and sports events, as per the new Covid-19 Protection Framework.

But Dr Api is hesitant to move into the the new framework too early.

“We are on a trajectory that’s been decided by Government. And what pains me is that we’ve committed to run the programmes on an equity basis, but it’s very clear that for some members of our community, they’re going to be left behind,” Dr Api says.

“If Covid hasn’t taught us anything in Aotearoa, it’s that the one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t work for this country.”

“If they are stubborn, then that’s their choice, and they need to be happy to live with it.”

 

 

 

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