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Te Pāti Māori Call On COVID Minister To Release Māori Vaccination Plan

Te Pāti Māori is calling on the Minister for COVID-19 Response, Chris Hipkins, to immediately release his plan for rolling out vaccines in Māori communities and to commit to working directly with Māori organisations to ensure resources get to where they are needed most.

In response to questioning in the House from Te Pāti Māori Co-leader Debbie Ngarewa-Packer, the Minister accepted that Māori are a population group particularly vulnerable to COVID-19 and confirmed that there is a specific vaccine rollout plan for Māori.

“Now that the Minister has confirmed that there is a specific vaccine rollout plan for Māori, he must urgently release that plan to Māori organisations and the public so they can start to plan and communicate the importance of getting vaccinated early,” said Mrs Ngarewa-Packer.

“The Minister needs to be up front with Māori about the plan for vaccinations and tell us what’s in it, and when Māori can expect to start receiving the optional vaccines, as one of the most at-risk groups in Aotearoa.

“The plan needs to recognise that Māori have higher vulnerability to COVID-19 at earlier ages than the general population. What we must not see is a situation like with cancer, that Māori have the same screening age as everyone else despite dying years before reaching that age.

“History shows us that Māori have been the ones to suffer the most through pandemics in the past – we must be ahead of the curve now and ensure that doesn’t happen.

“With the rollout of masks and other services in Auckland and Taranaki, it appears that again Māori organisations are being missed from the supply chain, which will make it harder to get resources to our grassroots communities. Minister Hipkins needs to commit to working with iwi and Māori organisations to ensure that resources are getting to where they are most in need,” said Mrs Ngarewa-Packer.

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