The Green Party is calling on the Government to prioritise Māori and Pasifika providers in the rollout of vaccinations to 5-11 year olds.
“When the vaccination rollout begins for children aged 5 to 11 years on 17 January 2022, Māori and Pasifika providers must be empowered and resourced to lead the hauora journey of their communities,” says Green Party spokesperson for COVID-19 response Dr Elizabeth Kerekere.
“Vaccinations are a powerful tool for keeping loved ones, whānau, and communities safe from COVID-19. But from the beginning of the rollout of vaccines to people aged over 11 years, the specific needs of Māori and Pacific providers were not prioritised.
“This was confirmed today in a report from the Waitangi Tribunal, which said the Treaty rights of Māori have been breached. As a result of these failures, Māori are currently much less protected from the virus than other parts of the population.
“When the eligible population hit the 90% vaccination rate, only 76% of Māori were fully vaccinated across the country, and 86% first dose. The rate is considerably lower in rural areas and particularly among younger Māori.
“Thanks to the heroic efforts of our Māori and Pasifika communities this is steadily increasing. However, the Government must do it differently for our tamariki, based on what Māori and Pasifika providers say will work best for their kids,” says Dr Elizabeth Kerekere.