Turuki Whānau Ora provider leads vaccine roll out

Staff at South Auckland Māori health provider Turuki Health Care were the first in Aotearoa to receive and administer a COVID-19 vaccine.

Published: Rāmere, 26 Huitanguru, 2021 | Friday, 26 February 2021

Nurse Tracey Peterson (Ngāti Porou, Ngāti Kahungunu) vaccinated the Managed Isolation and Quarantine (MIQ) workers, along with the rest of the Turuki team, at the Jet Park Hotel and provided information so they could assure their whānau.

First up was Lynnette Falva who felt honoured and appreciated the information.  She said getting the vaccine was the easy bit – she was more nervous about being on camera and talking to journalists.

Learn more about the MIQ workers experiences here.

Turuki Chief Executive Te Puea Winiata (Ngāti Ranginui, Ngāiterangi, Waikato-Tainui) said her team prepared carefully to ensure the first vaccinations were a good experience for MIQ staff and she is proud of their mahi.

“We want to make sure our people receive good information, are comfortable with the experience and confident to deliver vaccines.

“The work of Whānau Ora providers is about Māori connecting with Māori.  They provide comfortable, friendly family settings and the whānau know our staff, so they’re relaxed when they receive advice and treatment.”

She said a lot of work went into preparing for the roll out, to make sure the systems work, the staff are well trained and have all the information they need.

“The next big group to receive the vaccine are the families of MIQ workers and if it is not a good experience, then that will leach out into the wider community.

We need to think about how to engage whānau so they can be confident it will be a good experience and we are already thinking about what other interventions we can provide at the same time.

“So far we’ve had great feedback from people both administering and receiving vaccines.  People who have seen staff talk about their experience are so much more confident.”

Before the roll out started Turuki staff were vaccinated. Turuki GP Dr Katrina Kirikino-Cox said she was excited to receive the vaccine, as by protecting herself she was also protecting her whānau and community.

“This is a game changer and the best defence we can have.  If COVID ramped up Māori will suffer the most.  It is great we have something that will enable positive change for Māori and Aotearoa as a whole.”

In this video Katrina answers common questions regarding vaccinations.

Turuki is working with other Whānau Ora providers to share resources and help their efforts to encourage whānau to be vaccinated.

Caption: Turuki Health Care kaimahi prepare for vaccine roll out.