Friday, May 24, 2024

$23.3m jab in the arm for Māori vaccination

The Government has approved $23.3 million for eight Māori organisations and iwi aimed at boosting Māori vaccination rates, through the new $120 million Māori Communities COVID-19 Fund.

Today’s funding announcement is part of the first phase $60 million focused on vaccination rates and a further $60 million will support Māori and iwi-led initiatives to protect their communities against COVID-19.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Māori Crown Relations Minister, Kelvin Davis are in Te Tai Tokerau today seeing first-hand some of the successful vaccination initiatives being rolled out in Māori communities.

“We know that local solutions are how we are going to reach the rest of Maori with our vaccination message,” Mr Davis said.

“There are an army of volunteers, iwi and Māori organisations already working hard on this mahi and with the funding provided their efforts will be supercharged.”

The Māori Communities COVID-19 Fund was announced just over a week ago.

Minister for Māori Development, Willie Jackson, on behalf of the Ministerial Oversight Group reviewing funding proposals, said the quality of the proposals supported the swift decision-making needed to accelerate vaccination rates for Māori.

“The task now is to put our foot on the pedal and reach Māori, particularly in high priority and low vaccination areas like Te Tai Tokerau, Counties Manukau, Lakes District, Taranaki and Tairāwhiti DHBs,” Mr Jackson said.

Associate Health Minister, Peeni Henare said it was community mobilisation that was making all the difference.

“Māori passed 70% having their first jab last Friday. I want to mihi all the hard-working Māori providers, iwi and community groups who, with DHBs, supported whānau to reach that milestone,” Mr Henare said. 

Te Puni Kōkiri and Te Arawhiti will now work through funding contracts with the successful Māori organisations and iwi.

The first of the Phase One funding round proposals include:

  • Te Tai Tokerau ($4.6 million): includes support for iwi and marae communities, mobile vaccination clinics, events for rangatahi, and targeted communications and 0800 call centre.  This includes priority areas such as Kaikohe, Otangarei, Raumanga and Kaitāia East and West.
  • Tāmaki Makaurau ($1.8 million): includes funding for mobile vaccination clinics, wānanga, clinical staffing and health promotion resources. Priority groups include rangatahi, hard to reach whānau who are vaccine-hesitant, kura kaupapa and bilingual schools.
  • Waikato-Waiariki ($4.95 million): funding to reach isolated whānau and communities including transport for mobile vaccination clinics, clinical staff and wrap-around support, addressing vaccine hesitation, and community outreach and events.

North Island – ($5 million): extension of existing funding for the Whanāu Ora Commissioning Agency including vaccination programme, providing vaccine delivery and pastoral support across more than 80 Whānau Ora providers. Also, incentives and activities (e.g. kai, petrol vouchers and essentials) for rangatahi, whānau and Māori communities to encourage vaccination.

  • Taranaki ($1.3 million):  includes funding for eight iwi in Taranaki to increase trained vaccinators, recruit nurses, and kaiārahi to set up vaccine centres, mobile clinics to increase access, events for hard-to-reach whānau and communications.
  • Heretaunga ($2.2 million):  building on successful vaccine mobilisation and events to address accessibility issues, facing Māori in the rohe; transport, mobile vaccine clinics, community champions, events and incentives, particularly targeting rangatahi as 50% of the rohe Māori population is 10-29 years.
  • Whanganui ($2.8 million):  funding for iwi covering Southern Taranaki, Rangitīkei and Ruapehu district for community resilience and vaccination response including:  digital data capture of Māori vaccination rates; mobile outreach and vaccine incentives and events and communication of information and community engagement to reduce misinformation.
  • Te Waipounamu ($0.69 million):  funding to accelerate Māori vaccinations and build on the previous work of Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu Whānau Ora agency including:  vaccination clinics, events, mobile outreach, food distribution, communication and removing barriers to vaccination.  All of South Island and targeted initiatives to Invercargill, Alexandra, Ōtautahi and Te Tai Poutini.

The Māori Communities COVID-19 Fund involves a two-phase approach focused on further mobilising local vaccination initiatives for whānau, and on supporting Māori, iwi and communities to prepare for the new protection framework.

Further proposals for the $60m Phase One initiative, focused on vaccination, will be considered by the Ministerial Oversight Group this week.

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