Prioritising Māori for the vaccine would be a concrete sign the government is committed to improving our health
AMāori doctor on the government’s immunisation implementation advisory group, Dr Rawiri Jansen, said recently that Māori would be prioritised in the Covid-19 vaccine roll-out. A predictable outcry ensued, with familiar protestations about “race-based policy” and convenient ignorance displayed about the other priority groups being discussed – the elderly, those with known risk factors, front-line workers.
This was compounded for Māori living in rural areas with the urban/rural healthcare provision inequity heaping on more risk. The community checkpoints have been a source of contention since they were first mooted – Māori are called vigilantes for using our limited resources to protect our communities, but those opposed offered little in the way of solutions about how we might effectively protect those communities instead.