With 1 June signalling the official start of winter Taranaki Māori health providers and iwi are calling on whānau to step up and get vaccinated to avoid serious illnesses like infuenza and Covid-19 which are more common in the colder months.
Tui Ora Chief Executive Hayden Wano says: “The risk of becoming very sick is much higher for the unvaccinated and this winter the risk is even greater. With borders re-opened we are expecting a high flu load to enter the country, coupled with Omicron which is already widespread. There is a risk of a twindemic which is where you have a severe flu season running alongside an increase in Covid-19 cases. Some people will unfortunately contract both at the same time.”
While Māori vaccination rates for Covid-19 were progressing strongly they have recently tailed off.
“We know that Māori suffer the impacts of Covid-19 more than other ethnicities so our aim remains to have 95% of our eligible population vaccinated. We need to aim higher because diseases like Covid and flu hurt us more,” explains Wano.
From last Friday 27 May Taranaki Māori Covid-19 vaccination rates were still lagging behind the general population across Taranaki*:
Māori - 91%
General - 95%
Māori - 88%
General - 93%
Māori - 51%
General - 69%
Tamariki First Dose
Māori - 32%
General - 46%
Tamariki Second Dose
Māori - 11%
General - 21%
If you have had Covid there is a three month stand down period until you can have your next vaccination but whānau are stongly encouraged to ensure they have the maximum amount of doses they are eligible for. This is two for tamariki aged 5-15 and three including the booster for over 16’s.
“Keeping our whānau well is important,” says Liana Poutu, Te Kotahitanga o Te Atiawa Chair. “Having your vaccinations and immunisations up-to-date means you and your loved ones are ready for winter.”
“Protecting yourself and your whānau is really easy,” explains Whānau Ora General Manager Tamara Ruakere. Māori health providers are running clinics and pop-ups throughout Taranaki and we encourage whānau to come together and bring the kids. We can get you up to speed with your flu vax, any Covid jabs you might need and check if the tamariki are up to date with all of their childhood vaccinations.”
Ngā Iwi o Taranaki has had teams out and about checking in on whānau, making sure they are prepared if winter illness strikes their whare.
Jacqui King, Taranaki Iwi Chair, says “Vaccination is the best prevention but if you do happen to get sick then there is awhi for whānau to prepare and get help if needed.”
Tui Ora are offering MMR, Covid and flu vaccination clinics at the following locations for whānau:
- Tui Ora, 36 Maratahu St, New Plymouth – Tuesday to Friday, 9am-5pm
- Sinclair Event Centre, Ōpunake every Thursday, 1-5pm
- Tui Ora, Domett St, Waitara – Tuesday to Friday, 10am-4pm
In South Taranaki Ngāti Ruanui and Ngāruahine health services are vaccinating at the following locations:
- Ngāruahine, 35 Ngatai St, Manaia – every Thursday, 10am-3pm
- Ngāti Ruanui, 41 Hunter St, Hawera – Monday to Friday, 9am-3pm