As cases of the Covid-19 Delta variant virus continue to increase, the prioritization of Māori and Pacific for the Covid-19 vaccination is necessary and action needs to take place urgently, says Pasifika Medical Association (PMA) member Dr Collin Tukuitonga.
In a talanoa for the 531 PI Pacific Mornings radio show yesterday, Dr Tukuitonga reiterates that Māori and Pacific need to be first in line for the vaccine due to the severities of the Delta variant and what it means for Māori and Pacific communities, who are vulnerable to the effects of the deadly virus.
“We are now of course seeing quite a number of Pasifika affected by the current Delta variant and that’s the reason why Urutā has led this drive to prioritize Māori and Pasifika people to get the first dose,” he says.
If we don't make the effort, it could get out of hand. Let us put extra effort into getting Māori and Pasifika people to get their first dose because people who are not vaccinated are the people most at risk.”
Describing what prioritization looks like in action, he says it would mean more effort and resources being put into Māori and Pacific health providers, GP clinics and vaccination centres, such as more staffing and longer opening hours. He says setting up vaccinations to take place at community sites such as churches should also be considered.
“It’s really about trying to get vaccination options more freely available and to put extra effort into Māori and Pasifika people, as opposed to the second dose for others in New Zealand who are not Māori and Pacific.
We think that this is a good strategy not just for Māori and Pasifika people but for all of us as a nation”.