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First Kaupapa Māori Vaccine Clinic For West Coast Tamariki

A West Coast kaupapa Māori health provider is holding its first vaccination clinic for tamariki near Hokitika this weekend, as the vaccine roll out ramps up.

476,000 tamariki aged 5 to 11 years old became eligible to get vaccinated earlier this week, and nearly 30,000 tamariki around Aotearoa have already received their first dose of the vaccine.

West Coast kaupapa Māori health provider Poutini Wāiora is running a vaccination day for whānau on Saturday at Arahura Marae from 10.00am to 4.00pm for eligible tamariki, and anyone else who would like to get vaccinated or receive a booster.

To make it a fun and comfortable experience for tamariki, free activities will be on offer, such as bouncy castles, ice creams, and a sausage sizzle.


Poutini Waiora Acting Chief Executive, Lisa Tumahai says the Pfizer vaccine for tamariki is a lower dose and will help to reduce the severity of COVID-19 if contracted and slow the community spread of the virus.

“We’re pleased to offer a safe space at Arahura Marae for whānau and tamariki to get vaccinated where they can connect with their whakapapa, whenua and tīpuna. While tamariki are less likely to become severely sick or be hospitalised due to COVID-19, the virus is still a major health risk for communities and some children may still get very sick.”

Lisa Tumahai says Te Tai Poutini received its first weak positive COVID-19 case this week, and it’s important the region prepares before more cases turn up in the community. Earlier this month, just 83 percent of Māori 12 years and older living on the coast had received their second vaccine dose.

“After spending the holidays with my two four-month old moko, the importance of protecting our vulnerable tamariki is front of mind for me. I want my whānau to grow up in this COVID-19 world strong and healthy.

“Māori are a young population, with more than 30% of all whānau Māori under the age of 15. That’s another reason why it’s so important parents, caregivers and legal guardians consider vaccinating eligible tamariki, to help protect future generations of their whānau and the continuation of their whakapapa.”

The vaccine is optional for young tamariki and Poutini Waiora kaimahi are happy to have a hui with anyone seeking more information about how it works. To be fully immunised against COVID-19, tamariki need two doses of the vaccine, which will usually be given at least 8 weeks apart.

“Our friendly nurses are available for a kōrero to answer any pātai. The vaccine is safe, and there is no pressure to get your tamariki vaccinated. We will provide more opportunities to get vaxxed in the coming months,” says Lisa Tumahai.

Poutini Waiora is scheduled to run a follow up clinic at the marae in February and will soon have its 4WD mobile clinics visiting rural communities. The health provider will also run pop up clinics in partnership with the West Coast District Health Board around the region.

Anyone can turn up at the marae on Saturday for their vaccine, but whānau are encouraged to book ahead by visiting www.bookmyvaccine.nz or contacting District Coordinator Hamiria Hutana (03 755 6451). Transport can also be arranged by request.

Background:

  • Poutini Waiora is owned and managed by Poutini Ngāi Tahu (Makaawhio, Ngāti Māhaki and Ngāti Waewae).
  • Poutini Waiora has been running a series of kaupapa Māori vaccine clinics on the West Coast since mid-last year. It launched a mobile vaccine clinic last October to increase the vaccine rate in rural communities.
  • Tamariki need two doses to be fully protected, at least 8 weeks apart. If a tamariki is immunocompromised, it’s important to seek medical advice.
  • It’s a good idea to book for the vaccination because there are less places to get a tamariki immunisation: www.BookMyVaccine.nz or check with your normal doctor.
  • Tamariki need to be accompanied by a parent, caregiver or legal guardian who will need to provide their consent.
  • Children under 12 do not need to have a My Vaccine Pass once they are vaccinated.

More information for whānau about COVID-19 and the vaccine can be found at: https://ngaitahu.iwi.nz/whanau/covid-19/

  • Kaupapa Māori clinics are designed to provide whānau with a safe and familiar space which helps remove some of the uncertainty and anxiety that can be caused by going to a hospital or medical clinic. They’re open to anyone in the West Coast community, and everyone is welcome to come get their jab.
  • Marae are sacred spaces for Māori, a place where people connect with their whakapapa, whenua, and tīpuna. Receiving a vaccination at a marae can be a special and significant experience.

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