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Pasifika vaccination rates prove value of grassroots leadership – doctor

Friday 17 September 2021 | Written by RNZ | Published in New Zealand, Regional

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Pasifika vaccination rates prove value of grassroots leadership – doctor
A pop-up testing station in Ōtara town centre, South Auckland. JASON DORDAY / STUFF 20081217

Pacific health experts are rejoicing over strong Pasifika vaccination rates - all thanks to community driven initiatives.

More than 62 percent of eligible Pasifika have received their first dose of the vaccine with at least 32 percent of eligible Pasifika now fully vaccinated.

South Auckland GP Dr Api Talemaitoga said these numbers will only increase, and these vaccination rates are worth celebrating.

He said vaccination rates are increasing because the community has a say in the delivery of healthcare.

He is pleased vaccination buses are finally rolling ahead, but wishes it had happened sooner.

A fleet of six buses are operating in Auckland suburbs where vaccination numbers are low and where communities have difficulty accessing services.

Dr Api Talemaitoga said the buses will further boost Pacific vaccination rates and this is what the community has been wanting for some time.

Immunologist Dr Dianne Sika-Paotonu said the vaccination rate trajectory for Pacific people is heading in the right direction as barriers around accessibility are addressed.

Dr Paotonu said the focus should turn to getting young people vaccinated.