More kaumātua have been vaccinated this year than ever before as the result of a push to get more Māori immunised against influenza, Associate Ministers of Health Peeni Henare and Julie Anne Genter announced today.
“This year has seen incredibly high demand for the flu vaccine as New Zealand prepared to tackle Covid-19,” Minister Henare said in a media statement.
“I’m stoked that for the first time in history over 50 per cent of our Koro and Kuia are protected against this virus."
The particular focus of the vaccination programme has been on Māori aged 65 and over.
“Māori have historically had lower rates of immunisation than tauiwi - that’s why we focussed on protecting our kaumātua with free influenza vaccinations as part of our $9.5 million to our Māori-specific influenza vaccination campaign,” Minister Genter said.
“We’ve seen ‘pop-up clinics’ at local venues such as marae, mobile clinics and ‘drive-through’ vaccine stations. These innovative approaches have meant that well over half of our kaumātua are vaccinated against influenza.
“Latest figures show that 58 per cent of Māori aged 65 and over are fully vaccinated against influenza - it was 45 per cent this time last year, and 43 per cent the year before that.”
More than a third of New Zealanders have been vaccinated this year, according to the statement.
“It’s not too late for people who haven’t yet been vaccinated to protect themselves and their kaumātua - there is still plenty of influenza vaccine available,” Minister Genter said.