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Ed Sheeran

Maori knowledge would strengthen vaccine effort
Photo: Ministry of Health/Supplied.

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The National Hauora Coalition wants the Government to use the COVID immunisation programme to demonstrate its commitment to Māori wellbeing.

Chief executive Simon Royal says that includes supporting a Māori-led national COVID vaccination and immunisation plan including delivery through regional and local bodies such as iwi, whānau ora commissioning agencies and other hauora Māori providers.

Māori leadership of the programme for Māori communities will give whānau a sense of empowerment and understanding which will have flow-on benefits for other immunisation programmes such as measles and influenza.

He says government agencies need to recognise and value how Māori think about the world and respect the way communities make decisions.

"What tends to happen is our people tend to feel disengaged, undervalued and feel they are part of the government's plan of action rather than being valued consumers and valued participating members of society. It’s a cultural thing," Mr Royal says.

The coalition says the vaccination programme should give whānau Māori broader choices about where they can be immunised and also increase Māori and Pasifika representation in the health workforce by broadening the range of immunisation roles non-regulated health workers can perform.

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