Taitamariki event hopes to lift youth vaccination rates in Tāmaki Makaurau

A “for taitamariki by taitamariki” vaccination event is running tomorrow in a bid to curb vaccine hesitation amongst young people in South Auckland.

Published: Rātū, 26 Whiringa ā-nuku, 2021 | Tuesday, 26 October 2021

Māhera Maihi, founder of youth charity Mā Te Huruhuru, said it was important young people designed and ran the event themselves.

“Te Puni Kōkiri funded a six-week taitamariki COVID-19 information programme where we took 50 youth through sessions to discuss their concerns and issues with the vaccination,” said Māhera.

“One thing that came up was that there’s a real disconnect between government and young people. They’re very suspicious and don’t necessarily trust those in power,” she added.

Mā Te Huruhuru hosted sessions with Dr Ashley Bloomfield, Dr Anthony Jordan and nurses from Manurewa Marae to provide as much information as possible so taitamariki could make better informed choices about the vaccination.

“Before the programme, many of the participants stated they weren’t going to get vaccinated. By the end 50% said yes, 25% still said no and 25% were on the fence,” said Māhera.

The youth have now formed a rōpu, determined to inform other taitamariki and address their concerns in a relatable, safe space.

“Our call to our young people is to come along tomorrow, even if you’re unsure. We’ll be there to answer your questions,” added Māhera.

The Te Puni Kōkiri Tāmaki Makaurau office have been supporting Mā Te Huruhuru on a range of kaupapa over the years.

“Auckland is closing in on the 90% first dose vaccination goal, but Counties Manukau is lagging behind,” said Regional Director Martin Mariassouce.

“What is unique is that they haven’t incentivised the vaccination, but those jabbed can nominate a homeless whānau for a kai.

Mā Te Huruhuru has been collecting insights and they know that youth view incentives with suspicion, this is a creative way for them to combat that whakaaro,” he added.

The ‘Jab & Grab’ event will be held at 18 Lambie Drive Manukau and is supported by Manurewa Marae’s Shot Cuzz vaccination bus.

It will run from 9am-5pm on Wednesday 27th October and whānau are encouraged to register their attendance here.