Monday, June 24, 2024

$1.5m funding booster for Pacific vaccination

The Government has today announced $1.5 million in funding for the Prepare Pacific Community Vaccination Fund.

The funds will directly support Pacific community-led initiatives to encourage boosters and child vaccinations, said the Associate Minister of Health, Aupito William Sio.

“The vaccine plays an important part in our preparations for Omicron. We need to ensure our 5–11-year-old Pacific children are vaccinated and that all of our eligible Pacific peoples get their booster when they become due. It’s critical that we vaccinate our children before the coming winter,” the Minister said.

“We’ve seen overseas how fast Omicron can overwhelm health care systems and impact essential services. Vaccination is the first step our families can take to prepare for Omicron.

“The Pacific community’s response to vaccinations has been excellent. National vaccination figures show that 97 percent have received their first dose, and 94 percent are fully vaccinated with two doses.

“However, data for booster uptake shows Pacific rates are still low in comparison with other communities in Aotearoa. Only 32 percent of Pacific people due for a booster have received one so far compared to 42 percent of Māori.”

The Minister said it was important for Pacific communities to continue with their “great response” to vaccinations.

“This top up of the Prepare Pacific Community Vaccination Fund will ensure our communities have the resources to achieve the high vaccination rates we need to keep safe,” he said. 

Pacific community groups predominantly in Tāmaki Makaurau can apply for funding although groups from around Aotearoa are welcome to apply.

Community groups, Pacific churches, Pacific youth groups and other groups that work with marginalised Pacific communities will be eligible to apply for up to $40,000.

The Prepare Pacific Community Vaccination Fund, which is being managed by The Cause Collective, will run until 30 June 2022 or when funds have been fully distributed.

“Through this fund we are asking our Pacific communities to prepare for Omicron by getting your booster and vaccinating our young children. Omicron will challenge all of us, we will need to be ready in advance. We’ve met the challenge many times before, we must meet it again,” Minister Sio said.

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