Another community outbreak of coronavirus in New Zealand could be devastating for New Zealand Maori and Pacific people including more than 80,000 Cook Islanders, a recently released research paper by Te Punaha Matatini researchers has shown.
research shows Cook Islanders in New Zealand face greater risk of getting
hospitalised for Covid-19.
by New Zealand’s Te Punaha Matatini researchers revealed Maori and Pacific
people in New Zealand, including 80,000 Cook Islanders, are more than twice as
likely to need hospital care for Covid-19.
latest findings have prompted calls to prioritise the groups for vaccination
when it is made available later in the year.
Wynne, a proud Cook Islander who lives in Wellington and works for the New
Zealand Labour Party, concurs with the new research and warns fellow Cook
Islanders to avoid buying into conspiracy theories around Maori and Pacific
people being used as guinea pigs for the roll out of the vaccinations.
Zealand and Cook Islands Maori and our other Pasifika communities in Aotearoa
New Zealand are regarded as high priority groups for the vaccine because a
great number of them work in essential services and their roles are vital to
the country’s Covid-19 response,” Wynne said.
end of last year, New Zealand’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Nanaia
Mahuta pledged to provide vaccines for people in realm countries – Cook
Islands, Niue and Tokelau, and other Pacific nations, if they wanted them.
experts in New Zealand have previously warned Māori and Pacific people are at
higher risk - partly because of healthcare inequity and new modelling by Te
Punaha Matatini researchers has put that danger into numbers.
data which covered age, deprivation, pre-existing health conditions and the
clinical outcomes of 1829 Covid-19 cases reported in New Zealand, the
researchers were able to break down risk of hospitalisation by ethnicity.
controlling for age and pre-existing conditions, they showed New Zealand Maori
were two and a half times more likely to need hospital care than non-Māori -
while the risk for Pacific people was even greater, at three times higher.
should inform future policy decisions including prioritising groups for
vaccination, according to the new research findings.
Michael Plank, a co-author of the new paper, said hospitalisation rates by
ethnicity couldn't be modelled at that time because there wasn't enough data.
the Auckland August outbreak gave us a whole lot of additional data that
allowed us to compare.”
renowned physician and former Cook Islands prime minister, the late Dr Joseph
Williams is still the only Cook Islander to have succumbed to Covid-19.
researchers added that, because testing rates were much higher in the second
August outbreak than in the first outbreak in March and April 2020, more mild
cases of Covid-19 would have been identified.
second outbreak disproportionately affected Pacific and Māori people, the model
may underestimate their relative risk of hospitalisation.”
Zealand’s Covid-19 Vaccine Strategy sets the direction for the Covid-19
Immunisation Programme. This will deliver the roll out of vaccines when they
become available and planning for a range of potential delivery scenarios in
2021 is underway.
are over five million people in New Zealand, the Cook Islands, Niue, Tokelau,
Sāmoa, Tonga and Tuvalu.
programme aims to immunise as many people as possible and it is expected that
the vaccine will be rolled out in the second quarter of 2021.