Working with community to support Māori vaccination rates

Ensuring Māori have options when it comes to health care is the motivation behind community vaccination clinics run by Te Puawaitanga ki Ōtautahi Trust.
This winter, with the demand for COVID-19 vaccinations and the influenza vaccination, Te Puawaitanga ki Ōtautahi Trust have offered several vaccination clinics in locations accessible and familiar to Māori communities.

Renee Noble is a nurse at Te Puawaitanga ki Ōtautahi Trust and has been a driving force behind the clinics.

“For both Māori and non-Māori, we know that one size does not fit all. The vaccination clinics are trying to pivot services to meet the needs of our community, wherever that may be, including giving them options,” Renee said.

In late July, a free flu and COVID-19 vaccination clinic was held at the Ōtautahi Sports Association, a place that is considered turangawaewae (place of belonging) for many in the local Māori community.

“Our whole kaupapa has been around supporting other people and how we can give back. On the day we provided a hāngī for those who were vaccinated, and it was a fundraiser to their rugby club as well. It meant that not only were we able to keep them safe from illness, but they were able to earn pūtea (money) that they could then put into their community,” Renee said

Partnerships have been integral to providing these clinics in a collaborative, accessible way. Pegasus Health Hauora Māori Manager, Melody Tuliau, has been working closely with Te Puawaitanga ki Ōtautahi Trust around its vaccination mahi.

“Mel has been instrumental in making these clinics and this kaupapa a success. We appreciate that Pegasus Health has enabled her to help make this mahi part of a coordinated, system wide approach,” Renee said.

Te Puawaitanga ki Ōtautahi Trust is preparing to deliver childhood immunisations.

Tamariki Ora has always been a focus of its kaupapa and their nurses work closely with whānau through Whānau Mai programmes, Well Child checks and more.

“In the future, this will be another option that whānau have. Some Māori love the medical centre setting, but what we want to offer is choice. We want to work with our partners in primary care to make sure we are all working towards delivering services in a way that is whānau-centred,” Renee said.

Read the full September newsletter here