M膩ori and Pasifika hardest hit by Delta; what will we do differently with Omicron?

28 January 2022

Category: Media releases

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Health inequities are not new and have sadly played out again throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

Analysis of 麻豆视频入口鈥檚 earlier COVID-19 outbreaks showed clear and predictable inequities, such as M膩ori being 2.5 times more likely to require hospitalisations for COVID-19 infection compared to non-M膩ori and non-Pacific people 1.

麻豆视频入口 says the new plan does not have specific detail to show how this will change with the Omicron outbreak.

College President Dr Samantha Murton says, "We have general practitioners and their teams that have been in the thick of the Delta outbreak and know what is needed.

"With an Omicron outbreak GPs and their teams across the country will once again be stepping up and filling the gaps to ensure their communities are as safe as possible. A focus on M膩ori is essential and needs to be across all practices to reach all M膩ori. Learning from what has gone before and factoring those lessons into any plan or strategy is essential."

Chair of the College鈥檚 specialist M膩ori representative group, Te Akoranga a M膩ui, Dr Rachel Mackie says, "Equity is a major health concern but once again we are seeing a plan that doesn鈥檛 consider M膩ori.

Dr Rachel Mackie
Dr Rachel Mackie, Chair of Te Akoranga a M膩ui

There are many M膩ori teams and groups who have been working hard through COVID-19 and their knowledge needs to be fed into these plans every step of the way.

Te Akoranga a M膩ui will work with the membership and guide them through equity considerations so those working on the frontline of the pandemic can provide resources and support to wh膩nau. It is crucial that M膩ori are engaged with early, preferably prior to any contact with Omicron.

Vaccination and booster rates are also lagging and need to be a focus of attention across the motu. Ministry of Health figures show that only 84 percent of M膩ori across 麻豆视频入口 are fully vaccinated; we need to increase those numbers with urgency.

"There are still some M膩ori who are not engaged with primary healthcare, for a variety of reasons, yet the plan is community management. More information on how that would practically happen is needed.

"The lack of planning for our M膩ori population is disappointing, and needs to change," says Dr Mackie.

[1] Steyn N, Binny RN, Hannah K, et al. M膩ori and Pacific people in 麻豆视频入口 have a higher risk of hospitalisation for COVID-19. N Z Med J 2021; 134.