Vaccine rollout must be 'positive experience' for whānau

By Te Ao - Māori News
Turuki Health Care CEO, Te Puea Winiata.  Photo / File

A "moving experience" is how Turuki Health Care CEO Te Puea Winiata (Ngāti Ranginui, Ngāi Te Rangi) has described the delivery of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine ahead of today's rollout of New Zealand’s immunisation programme.

"It was really quite a moving experience to see a cavalcade of vans coming down delivering the vaccine," said Winiata, who heads the kaupapa Māori primary health organisation with clinics in Māngere and Panmure in Auckland.

She says Māori providers are ready to provide wrap-around services for whānau as part of the immunisation programme. 

"I have to say, I work in a number of networks across South Auckland, Māori providers are poised. They're ready to go," Winiata, who is also co-chair of the Covid-19 immunisation implementation advisory group, told reporters at a media conference in Mt Wellington today to mark the vaccination of the first lot of MIQ workers.

Winiata said the systems are in place to provide the vaccinations, however, the challenge is to encourage Māori to get vaccinated. 

"But now, we need to think about how we engage whānau. How do we make a positive experience for them?" she said.

"Because if they don't have a good experience, that's going to resonate with them. And where does that resonation go? It goes out into the community to other whānau." 

She said bespoke messaging was required that spoke directly to whānau and was meaningful to them. The goal she said was to enable Māori to make an "informed decision".