Working with community to support Māori vaccination rates

In June, 2021, Pegasus Health Hauora Māori Manager, Melody Tuliau, was seconded to the Canterbury DHB (now Te Whatu Ora – Waitaha Canterbury) vaccination team as Māori Equity Lead.

Over that year, Melody worked with a number of Māori providers to facilitate COVID-19 vaccinations for Māori and ensure Māori and Pasifika were able to receive their vaccination in a safe and respectful way.

This involved supporting the set-up of vaccination clinics in partnership with Māori providers, particularly Ngā Hau e Whā, Māui Clinic @ The Hub Hornby and Māui Clinic @ South City. She worked alongside Maria Pasene, Pegasus Pacific Health Manager, to collaborate with Te Puawaitanga ki Ōtautahi Trust and Tangata Atumotu to provide mobile vaccination events in schools.

This year, the focus has been on paediatric vaccinations and boosters. Melody collaborated with organisations such as Te Puawaitanga ki Ōtautahi Trust, He Waka Tapu, Purapura Whetu, and MIHI (Māori/Indigenous Health Innovation, University of Otago), Canterbury to provide mobile vaccination events within Māori communities. She also worked with the Canterbury DHB (now Te Whatu Ora – Waitaha Canterbury) to develop the service specs that enabled Māori providers to provide home vaccinations to whānau who may have difficulty getting out to a vaccination site.

In May, hundreds attended a Health Day event held at Takahanga Marae in Kaikoura. The event offered COVID-19, influenza and MMR vaccines. In addition, a Māori pharmacist was on site to do medication reviews and a doctor was available for health checks. The event was a partnership between Māori health and social services provider, Te Tai o Marokura and MIHI and was supported by Melody and the Canterbury DHB COVID-19 vaccination team.

As the colder weather hits, we are seeing an increase in respiratory illnesses like colds and flu in addition to the ongoing stream of new COVID-19 cases.

“We know winter can be tough for many people in our community. Hand hygiene and mask wearing proved to be effective in reducing the spread of COVID-19 and also applies to colds and flu, particularly when we’re close together or without good ventilation,” Melody says.

Vaccination remains an effective tool against illness so now is also a good time to kōrero with whānau and check Influenza, Measles, COVID-19 and other childhood immunisations are up to date. Other ways to take care of our hauora include staying active, eating good kai and keeping warm.

Read the full July newsletter here