The Ministry of health has finally agreed to release Māori vaccination data to the Whānau Ora Commissioning Agency after two high court battles that found in the hauora provider’s favour, but Whānau Ora CEO John Tamihere says it may all be too little, too late.
Director-general of health Dr Ashley Bloomfield told Tamihere in a letter Thursday evening he will release the names, NHI numbers, addresses and phone numbers of those that have not received a first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine in Northland, Hawke's Bay and Whanganui, but would release more limited information for those in the Wairarapa, Lakes DHB, and Bay of Plenty as some iwi in those areas oppose the release of the information or would like access to it themselves for their own vaccination initiatives.
Tamihere who first went to court for the information in October says despite the legal win, the multiple delays in releasing the data means the data’s usefulness may be drastically reduced, given Auckland which has the most COVID-19 cases in the country is on the verge of opening up to the rest of the motu and there is a lead time of several weeks needed to develop immunity from the virus after vaccination.
‘So resistantly and reluctantly, we finally get it and the Auckland border opens in four days time, it takes about 5-6 days to mine it and then bring our regions together to work out a redeployment of our assets against information now that we can target for the very first time. Our vaccination capability tis not going to be able to be work with this data before Christmas.’ Tamihere told RNZ.
Tamihere says despite the Ministry saying it now accepts the court rulings, it's unclear as to when Whānau Ora may actually get access to the data.
‘It's a sense of sabotage, here's the remarkable thing about it, it's pre-meditated, if it was by mistake I'd get it but this chap has been absolutely resistant at every turn for this and trying to find every excuse.’ he said.