September 29, 2021
Suppression strategy folly while unvaxed Māori remain high
A Māori GP and health researcher says low Māori vaccination rates means it’s dangerous to give up on the Covid elimination strategy.
National today released a plan to shift from elimination suppression, including opening the border to fully vaccinated travelers once vaccination rates here reach 85 percent.
Matire Harwood from Māori pandemic response group Te Rōpū Whakakaupapa Urutā says elimination doesn’t mean there is no Covid in the community, but levels are so low the disease doesn’t spread.
She says vaccination rates for Māori are still under 60 percent, with daily numbers dropping back after peaking last week around 10,000 a day.
“We can’t take our foot off the pedal, we can’t take our eye off the ultimate goal which is to keep our community safe, keep our hospitals working. It is a good time to sit down again and look at what do we need to do to achieve 90 percent vaccination,” Dr Harwood says.
She says because health authorities did not allow Māori to contribute to the design of the vaccination system it’s not working for Māori, and they are now scrambling to get Māori providers to fill in the gaps – without giving them access to the data within the health system needed to do the job more quickly.
There were 45 new community cases of Covid-19 in Auckland today, the majority of whom were family contacts of existing cases and had been isolating.