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Te Pāti Māori Co-leader Urges Taranaki Whānau To Get Tested And Vaccinated

Following the news of COVID traces in the wastewater in Stratford, Taranaki this morning, Te Pāti Māori co-leader Debbie Ngarewa-Packer has taken to the streets along with Ngāti Ruanui and Ngāti Maru iwi to strengthen the vaccination and COVID testing efforts in the region.

Ngarewa-Packer has recently trained as a qualified vaccinator, and has been working tirelessly on the ground to ensure safe spaces for vaccination for rangatahi, pakeke and the broader community.

Ngāti Ruanui iwi Kaiwhakahaere, Rachel Rae says “The real concern here is that there is a high possibility that the wastewater result means that there is undetected community transmission. In such an isolated community, this could indicate wider spread throughout the region if the source made stops in New Plymouth for example.”

“We are particularly concerned given Stratford is a high-density area for Māori whānau”

says Te Pāti Māori co-leader Debbie Ngarewa-Packer.

“The next concern is the extremely low vaccination rates, with a 68% second-dose vaccination rate overall. However, this is worse for Māori with less than half fully vaccinated,” says Ngarewa-Packer.

“Like our iwi and hauora providers, we have stood up successful yaks’n’vax which have been pivotal in raising Māori vaccination rates. They have worked in the by whānau, for whānau capacity and sure they will work in the new testing capacity too” says Ngarewa-Packer.

“Our mobile units will be open from 9:30AM, where we encourage anyone who is symptomatic and/or been out of the region to seek a test. We also encourage whānau to please be vaccinated. The longer we take to identify the source, the longer a potential outbreak has, to get out of control.

“Our message to whānau is this; if you have flu-like symptoms come down to us and get tested now. If you haven’t been vaccinated, and you want to, come and get your shot. You will be safe, we are whānau. We need to do all we can to fight for our whakapapa.” says Debbie Ngarewa-Packer.

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