Vital data needed for iwi-led vaccine campaigns
Iwi need better quality, timely data to support their efforts to increase Covid-19 vaccination coverage in their communities, the Data Iwi Leaders Group - Data ILG - says.
The Ministry of Health has publicly released vaccination uptake data at the SA2 or suburb level, for the general population, Māori ethnic group and Pasifika peoples.
Covid-19 vaccination uptake among Māori is only about two-thirds that of the general population, which health experts and iwi leaders say demonstrates the inequitable rollout of the vaccine programme.
Data ILG welcomes the release of the SA2 vaccination data but remains concerned that iwi have not had ready access to detailed data to help inform iwi-led responses to the pandemic.
Data ILG spokesperson, Rahui Papa, says iwi are both naturally and consistently first responders in times of crisis.
“This happened in the first Covid-19 lockdown in 2020 when iwi rapidly responded to both iwi and local community needs.”
However, Mr Papa says iwi are not being adequately provided with the data needed to implement real-time, targeted interventions to support whānau to get vaccinated.
“All of the data systems are geared up for the benefit of the general population, not Māori. Like the vaccination programme itself, the data systems that support the pandemic response also need to be designed with equity at the centre.”
Mr Papa says the group is disappointed the Ministry did not engage or consult with iwi as a Te Tiriti partner over the release of the SA2 data.
“Having the detailed information required to target our efforts will allow iwi and providers to plan specific responses that cater to the most vulnerable in our communities.
“Supporting our people to get vaccinated is our paramount concern. The vaccine is our best defence against Covid-19 and will ensure the protection of our whānau and whakapapa.
“However, our data is a taonga and any information held by government agencies that inform iwi, requires genuine iwi input, not just as a stakeholder, but as a Te Tiriti partner.”
Mr Papa says improving access to robust data relating to iwi and Māori in the health sector goes beyond responding to individual crises and has a long-term goal of improving all health outcomes for Māori.
“Covid-19 has sharpened our focus and urgency on building our data infrastructure so that it empowers and enables iwi to support and protect our people, our future generations and our whakapapa.”
Data ILG is working on making the vaccination uptake data available through the ‘by iwi, for iwi’ online platform, Te Whata, as soon as possible.