The Pacific nursing section of the nurses union says the Government needs a special Covid-19 vaccination programme for Pasifika, while urging the community to accept the vaccine.
New Zealand Nurses Organisation (NZNO)’s Pacific nursing section chairperson Eseta Finau said the health system was often poorly connected with Pasifika, who have specific health needs and questions.
Finau said the Government must acknowledge the special needs of these communities.
The country’s Covid-19 vaccine roll-out is officially underway, with a small group of vaccinators getting the Pfizer jab.
It comes after an indigenous health expert called the Government’s vaccine roll-out plan unfair to Mori and Pasifika, who are at higher risk of contracting Covid-19.
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Finau stressed that Pacific peoples needed to know the vaccine is safe for them to take: Getting the vaccine is the best thing they can do to protect everyone from the virus. Its an act of kindness and care.
She said a special vaccine programme for Pasifika must be culturally appropriate, and brought to them by ethnic-specific Pasifika health workers.
Finau said such a programme would also need to include home visits to the elderly and others who live remotely or can’t leave their homes for both doses of the vaccine.
Earlier in the month, Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins announced the vaccine rollout from May would be carved into two groups people over 65 years old and those with health conditions in south Auckland and the rest of the country, and the general population.
New Zealand Nurses Organisation pacific nursing section chairperson Eseta Finau urged the Pacific community to get a Covid-19 vaccine, and says the Government needs a special vaccination programme for Pasifika. (file photo).
Last week, University of Auckland senior health lecturer, Rhys Jones (Ngti Kahungunu), criticised the Governments vaccine plan, which prioritised by age and those with pre-existing conditions.
Jones said to prioritise by age, when its been proven that the life expectancy of Mori and Pasifika was lower than Pkeha, was racist.
Last month, a fono (meeting) was held by Pacific leaders to help inform New Zealands Pacific community on the key vaccination programmes this year.
Safety, side effects, timing and the eligibility of non-residents and visa overstayers were cited among the concerns the Pasifika community have when it comes to the Covid-19 vaccine.
At the meeting, Principal of Pacific Perspectives Limited, Dr Debbie Ryan, said there were concerns about misinformation and fear especially about Pasifika being used as guinea pigs in getting vaccinated first because most were border workers.
If Pasifika are unsure, they should talk to their Pasifika nurse or health worker or contact the Pacific nursing section of NZNO for advice, Finau said.