COVID-19 Information vital to Māori vaccination and immunisation programme

Getting the right information is an important part of the process for whānau, hapū and iwi to be ready for the COVID-19 vaccination, Associate Minister for Health (Māori) Hon Peeni Henare said.

“We are seeing progress in our communities to ensure Māori have the information and tools needed to make informed choices about the COVID-19 vaccine.

“I visited a number of rohe over the last couple of months and I am heartened to see the efforts being made by iwi, and hauora providers with the support of local health practitioners to ensure whānau have quality information about the vaccine,” Peeni Henare said.

In March the Government confirmed the timing and sequencing of an initial $39 million to ensure the COVID-19 programme had a strong focus on protecting Māori whānau and preparing Māori communities for the roll out of the COVID-19 programme.

Of the $39 million there is $24.5 million for the development of community-based vaccine support services. This is allocated to a mix of vaccine support services for navigators, coordinators, champions across rangatahi, whānau and community, and options for virtual support networks.  

Feedback from my visits and korero with Māori showed that there were still many of our whānau who needed more information and they took the opportunity to ask questions about the vaccination roll out including safety pātai, whether the vaccine is free and when whānau could get vaccinated.

Māori providers have a vital role in ensuring a whānau-centred approach to make it easier for whānau, hapū and iwi to get vaccinated. The $11 million allocated to the Māori provider fund for provider readiness will see more than 60 Māori vaccination providers delivering services across Aotearoa. Over half of those providers have already been contracted through the Ministry of Health with the remainder expected to be contracted as the programme scales up.

“We now over 500 Māori trained as vaccinators with 150 already active in this kaupapa. We also have more than 26,000 Māori who have received their first dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine and over 11,000 who have received their second dose.

“As we get closer to the next phase of the vaccination roll out we want to make sure that our people have access to information that is relevant to them in their rohe and kainga to make a confident and informed decision

That’s why we allocated $2 million for by Māori for Māori communications,” he said.

The fund enables a local communications response to inform iwi, whānau, hapū or hapori about the COVID-19 vaccination programme. A contestable fund of $1.5 million received 57 applications, representing 140 organisations, iwi and hapū. The remaining $500,000 is allocated to the Iwi Communications Collective - 43 iwi communications practitioners working with, and for, their respective, iwi, hapū and whānau throughout Aotearoa. 

While our communities will be working on communications locally and regionally, there is also a greater Māori information sharing presence online. The Ministry of Health You Tube site has a series of videos hosted by Dr Lily Fraser. The Straight Up series sees whānau raise their pātai about the vaccine. Te Puni Kōkiri also launched www.karawhuia.nz , a new site with trusted information to assist whānau to make informed choices about the vaccine and a linked advertising campaign.

“As the vaccine becomes available to more groups, and all of Aotearoa from July, ensure you have the information you need to play your part in protecting our whānau, hapū, iwi, and whakapapa" added Minister Henare.

Media contact: Irena Smith 021 845 205

NOTES TO THE EDITOR:

$24.5m is broken down into three components:

  • $17.5m for vaccine support service which includes navigators and coordinators. This funding has been allocated to DHBs with baseline funding of 20 percent and 80 percent based on PBFF (Population based funding formula). This funding is for FTE support which will go directly to Māori Health Providers.
  • $5.6m is for a virtual support network or Telehealth type service.
  • $1.4m is for community champions. Discussions are being held on how to allocate this funding and the mix i.e. iwi, youth, whānau, community.