92 new Covid cases; Māori in Auckland 80% fully vaccinated

By Te Ao - Māori News

With the traffic lights turned on for Aotearoa on its first day of the new Covid-19 Protection Framework, the Ministry of Health reported 92 new cases - the first time in a while that case numbers have been under 100.

In even better news, it's been confirmed by the NRHCC that 80% of eligible Māori in Tāmaki Makaurau have been fully vaccinated. In metro Auckland, double vaccinations have hit the 90% milestone, including Waitematā DHB having reached 90% also.

NRHCC Māori lead Karl Snowden says the consistent hard work on the ground has absolutely paid off.

“It’s heart-warming to hear that such a large proportion of our Māori population, who are three times more likely to be hospitalised with Covid-19, are now protected.

“Our Māori providers who have taken to the streets with their vaccination buses and campervans for months on end, don’t plan on letting up until that all-important target is met.”

Snowden says he’s confident that Counties Manukau will hit 90 percent double-dose very soon, particularly with the large number of pop-up events planned in south Auckland right up until December 23.

Māori stats 'undercounted'

The Ministry of Health statistics are contested by health researcher Dr Rawiri Taonui, who argues that a study three years ago found the Health Service User Index (HSU), which the Ministry of Heath uses to calculate vaccination numbers undercounts the population by ethnicity, deprivation, and age.

It found Māori are the most affected ethnicity with an estimated 21% undercount.

This undercount is larger in high Māori demographic district health boards, areas of high deprivation, and among Māori youth populations.

As of December 3, Taonui says, that while the ministry claims 83% of Māori have had one dose of the vaccine and 69% are fully vaccinated, the actual figures are much lower with Māori at 76.2% at least one vaccination and 63.5% fully vaccinated.

New cases info

Of the new cases, 80 are in Auckland, two are in Waikato, one in Northland (a household close contact of a previous case in Kaitaia), five in the Bay of Plenty, one in the Lakes DHB (yet to be linked to the outbreak) and two are in Taranaki.

46 cases are linked and the remaining 46 are unlinked with investigations ongoing to determine a link.

In the Bay of Plenty, three of the new cases are contacts of known cases and were already isolating. Investigations into how the other two cases are linked to the outbreak are continuing.

In the Waikato, the location for one of these cases is currently under investigation. The other case lives in Rotorua but is isolating in the Waikato region and is being transferred to Waikato. There is also a case isolating in Whitianga who had recently relocated from Auckland in compliance with the border and travel requirements.  The case is currently included in Auckland’s reporting but may be transferred to Waikato.

Public health director Dr Caroline McElnay, at today's 1pm presser from Parliament, also said there are three additional cases in Taranaki who are known contacts with an established link, bringing the region's total to five. These cases are isolating across three separate households in New Plymouth, Rotorua and Waikato.

Devon Intermediate School in New Plymouth has been closed today after being linked to one of the cases. 

Some 79 people are hospitalised with Covid-19 including four people still being assessed. Nine patients are in ICU. 12 are in North Shore, 34 are in Auckland, 30 are in Middlemore, two are in Waikato and one is in Tauranga hospitals.

For hospital cases, 44 people are unvaccinated (56%), 15 people are partially immunised less than seven days from their second dose or have only had one dose (19%), 10 people have been fully vaccinated for at least 7 days before being reported as a case (13%) and 10 people are unknown (13%).

Vaccine update

." Tāmaki Makaurau has born the brunt of the Delta outbreak and its people have been the vanguard of Aotearoa's vaccination efforts. I really want to thank all of our health providers and all Aucklanders across the region. They can all share the credit in reaching those fantastic milestones," says Dr McElnay.

Dr McElnay has confirmed that Canterbury DHB has now reached its 90% fully vaccinated goal. 

39,553 total vaccine doses were administered yesterday, including 8,600 first doses and 16,641 second doses. To date, 93% of eligible people in New Zealand have had their first dose and 87% are fully vaccinated.

83% of eligible Māori have had their first dose, while 70% are fully vaccinated.