Green MP opens up about medical condition, gets vaccinated

By Whatitiri Te Wake

A Green MP opens up about her condition of low immunity which has prompted her to get vaccinated.

It's day one of the vaccination pop-up centre in Waiwhetū in the Lower Hutt, and kaumātua and kuia have lined up to receive their first dose of the Pfizer vaccine.

Among them is Green MP Dr. Elizabeth Kerekere. She has an underlying condition that prompted her to get vaccinated she says to safeguard her health, and to be an example for more whānau to get vaccinated.

“I am one of many Māori with underlying health conditions. And because I have low immunity, my GP has advised the vaccine will likely make me feel a bit sick for a day or two, but then I am protected against a deadly, harmful virus that has ravaged communities around the world.”

Speaking exclusively to Te Ao Mārama today she revealed that she has a condition called hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia (HTT).

A disorder in which blood vessels do not develop properly. Nosebleeds are the most common sign of HTT.

She said, “[They're] not actually tumors but they’re little… I call them my little volcanoes”

“They are in my airways, the back of my throat and instead of the blood going where its meant to go…to my veins and my heart, they form these little volcanoes, and every now and then they burst,” she said.

Given the high pressure of her current role as a member of parliament, she has adopted some strategies to manage her condition and overall health.

“It helps to remind me to be calm to be tau to see in that particular place that I work, to see how things are and to not let things affect me too much."