Lower flu vaccinations for Maori 65 plus spurs concern

The Government says about 700,000 vaccine doses are in the community but yet to be administered.
Photo: ODT files.
Covid-19 may have contributed to flu vaccination rates in the South for Maori aged 65 years and older lagging behind.

The Southern District Health Board area had 47% coverage of this group as of July 3, compared with 60% for the non-Maori and non-Pacific population in the same age category.

In a letter to the board, director-general of health Ashley Bloomfield said the disparity was concerning.

"It is vitally important that we protect our vulnerable kaumatua [elderly]," Dr Bloomfield said.

Southern DHB chief Maori strategy and improvement officer Gilbert Taurua said the board was committed to improving immunisation rates for all age groups.

"During the last few months, Covid-19 has impacted on the timely planning and delivery of health services and magnified the larger pandemic of social inequities in health," he said.

Much of the immunisation work is carried out by primary health organisation WellSouth.

"While there are questions around the accuracy of the data capture, we acknowledge Dr Bloomfield’s concerns and are working together with WellSouth to improve our performance with pop-up marae clinics and other targeted initiatives," he said.



"Covid-19 may have contributed to flu vaccination rates in the South for Maori aged 65 years and older lagging behind."
How can a virus, that we have under control in NZ, stop people from getting a flu vaccination?
It's a stupid statement.
People choose NOT to be vaccinated or they DON"T KNOW it's available, it's one or the other.
My mum, who is in her 80's, got a phone call from her GP letting her know it was available, which she chose to have.
My understanding is we have a Managed Care system were Doctors are paid by the number of patients registered with their Clinics.
So that would imply that proportionally speaking, less Maori have a registered Doctor or not all Doctors have arranged contact with their patients or more Maori choose not to vaccinate.
Surely, investigating these three issues would be the correct place to start identifying what the underlying cause of this anomaly is !
Then again, there maybe another agenda.

As a statistic on its own, it is completely meaningless. By continually highlighting any and every imbalance of a specific group of people it will often lead to an injustice or unfairness. For example, if we were constantly bombarded with media stories about any imbalances between blond-haired people and all other hair-coloured people, we might start thinking that blonds are some how different to the rest of us, then start treating them with inequity. Okay, so maybe not the best example, because many of you probably already think that it's a fact that all blonds are airheads, but what about short people? Thin people? Christrians? Widows? People with green eyes or crooked teeth? They could of highlighted any group of people and found a statistical difference.