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Maori over-65s leading flu coverage in region - Hawke's Bay DHB

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

For the first time ever, more Hawke’s Bay Māori aged 65 and over have received a flu immunisation ahead of all other ethnicities in the region.

Hawke’s Bay District Health Board acting executive director health improvement and equity, Patrick Le Geyt, said the increased uptake among Māori aged over 65 was thanks to a dedicated team within the DHB and primary care focussed on actively reducing health inequities among Māori by removing barriers and access to care.

As at 4 September 2020, 75.8 percent of Māori aged 65 and over had received their flu immunisation, ahead of non-Māori and non-Pacific at 72.7 percent.

"This is a first which is worth celebrating," said Mr Le Geyt.

"It is a great achievement as we work to reduce health inequities and improve overall health and wellbeing of our Māori communities.

"Nationally, Hawke’s Bay is also the second highest region in the country for immunisations of this group," he said.

Earlier this year district health boards were tasked with the challenge of increasing influenza immunisation rates because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mr Le Geyt said Hawke’s Bay DHB pulled together a working group comprising its Immunisation, Māori and Pacific Health teams, Māori providers, pharmacy and the region’s Primary Health Organisation, Health Hawke’s Bay.

"Community contacts were utilised to encourage people to visit their GP or pharmacy to get a flu vaccine.

"Pop-up clinics with Māori health providers and churches with a large Pacific congregation were also organised to remove barriers and make getting a flu immunisation more easily accessible," he said.

Mr Le Geyt said COVID-19 had made people more aware of just how important getting a flu immunisation was, and the collaborative effort to encourage people to get their flu immunisation worked.

Certain people are eligible for a free flu immunisation, including pregnant women, people aged 65 years or older, or people under 65 with diabetes, most heart or lung conditions and some other illnesses. Children aged 4 years or under who have visited their doctor many times or had a stay in hospital for asthma or other breathing problems are also eligible for a free vaccine.

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