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More to be done for Maori vaccination

The Eketahuna Community Health Centre hosted the town’s vaccination clinic on Super Saturday. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

During Saturday’s televised vaxathon coverage, Nireaha-Eketahuna was named a “top town” regarding its Maori vaccination rate.

The title indicated that by 2.30pm on Saturday, the area had experienced the biggest daily percentage increase for first doses of the covid-19 vaccine among its Maori population.

However, kaumatua Warren Chase said there was still a long way to go when it came to getting Maori vaccinated.

“I think it’s been, in a word, pretty average,” Chase said.

By the end of Super Saturday, 45 per cent of the MidCentral District Health Board Maori population had been fully vaccinated, while 66 per cent had received their first dose.

Wairarapa DHB lagged slightly behind, with 43 per cent fully vaccinated and 64 per cent on their first dose.

Chase’s role as kaumatua, alongside his wife Everlyn, was to encourage residents to book their vaccinations and support whanau who found it challenging to get vaccinated.

He said that the numbers of Maori getting vaccinated had increased over the four clinics held in Eketahuna.

“There has been a lot more education, with some of our leaders within our communities other than myself and my wife taking those roles as well.”

According to MDHB, 66 vaccinations took place in Eketahuna on Super Saturday, including 49 for Europeans [74 per cent] and 15 for Maori [23 per cent].

Those vaccinations contributed to the hundreds that had already taken place at previous outreach clinics.

However, Chase said there was still a cohort within the community that was more difficult to connect with.

“The thing is that we need to concentrate on what’s really out there and not take too much notice of what social media is saying about vaccinating. But until that happens, people are going to make decisions, and those of us who have been vaccinated need to be quite strong in our convictions to communicate with those who aren’t.”

In total, 5379 people were vaccinated at 28 clinics across the MidCentral rohe on Super Saturday – giving the DHB third place for the number of doses per 100 residents.

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