Pūkaki Marae vaccine pop-up clinic on the cards

By Taroi Black

The Northern Region Health Coordination Centre will reach out to Te Akitai o Waiohua Iwi based at the international borders to discuss how it can work together as part of its vaccine plan.

This comes after Te Ao Māori News interviewed the mandated lead negotiator Karen Wilson, who is appalled by the low numbers of her iwi being vaccinated. She says only 6% of the iwi has been vaccinated.

“The things we get from the Counties Manukau District Health Board that's one of the forums we sit on - I keep asking that question why that figure is not moving.”

 Pukaki Marae is now pleading to open a pop-up clinic to cater to its iwi.

NRHCC will shortly provide further information on its current outreach about Māori leaders and partner providers that are stepping up to its Covid-19 programme. However, more needs to be done, Wilson says.

“We need it now because we want our numbers to increase because we want to get out of level 4. Everybody else is on level 2, 3 and whatever else but here we sit not doing anything.”

Middlemore Hospital and Māngere based Turuki Health Clinic are working with Te Akitai o Waiohua to vaccinate as many it can, alongside other local communities in South Auckland.

Saliva tests

This week, the Ministry of Health has seen the lowest turnout for testing across the country.

So, a plan to supply saliva testing is on the cards for frontline workers.

Te Whānau o Waipareira Trust chief executive John Tamihere says its centre has seen good results from saliva swabs compared to the invasive nasal test.

“Because we're on the front-facing lines our team has to be tested every five days. We do that because we're a good employer."

While the government is in negotiations with a company to supply saliva testing, National Covid-19 Response spokesperson Chris Bishop says it should have been underway a long time ago.

Takanini - Whānau Ora Community Centre medical nurse Shimaiah Pupuali’I looks forward to the rollout supply of saliva tests that make Māori and Pasifika feel safer, a plan which Te Akitai o Waiohua is hoping to be part of too on the border.

“It will reduce the anxiety and the fear of them getting tested and knowing that they will be more comfortable services if we do the saliva testing,” Pupuali’I says.