July 25, 2021
Maori messages misplaced in vaccine push
The co-chair of the Māori pandemic response group Te Whakakaupapa Urutā says the controversy over a COVID booklet is symptomatic of a wider problem of health authorities failing to connect with Māori.
Bay of Plenty District Health Board has apologised over the artwork in a vaccine information booklet which put Māori faces on pictures of the virus.
Dr Rawiri Jansen says the fact Māori vaccination rates are still at only 6 per cent is not the fault of Māori but of a system that has failed to come up with a message that resonates with Māori.
"It's not on us. It's on the system. Get busy, get it right, move everything you can so the message gets out to our people: Bring the whanau, bring the household bubble in, come and get vac now, no barriers, no appointment necessary, all that sort of thing. I think it can be fixed and the fact it is not being fixed tells us something about our health system has not learned the lessons that it needs to," he says.
Dr Jansen says he’s concerned the outreach to Māori will get lost in the wider messaging once vaccination shifts into full gear with Group four.
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