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After launching their vaccination programme for Level 2Bs on 10th of May, Te Puna Ora o Mataatua (TPOOM) is now able to open bookings to Māori over 50 and their whānau.

This rollout acknowledges the importance of equity and additional risk within Māori communities. CEO Dr Chris Tooley says that with the Eastern Bay of Plenty having such a high percentage of Māori, making vaccinations for kaumātua and their families accessible is a priority.

“It’s especially important for Māori over 50 to be vaccinated. Half of the people who have been admitted to intensive care for COVID-19 in New Zealand have been Māori, and we know from historical infectious diseases and even the flu, Māori are disproportionately affected with higher risks of hospitalisation and complications.

“To protect our whānau, our hapū, our iwi, we strongly urge our kaumātua and their whānau to take this opportunity and be protected from what could otherwise be a huge tragedy to our community.”

Mobile Health Coordinator, Kathleen Taipeti, who is overseeing the project advises that they have worked hard to make the COVID-19 Vaccinations and comfortable process, and the team have been inundated with positive feedback. She wants people to know it’s an easy, friendly experience and the team are doing everything they can to put patients at ease.

When Ashleigh Pihema received her vaccination, she said it was to do her part to protect her whānau and community. She described her experience as “professional, friendly and easy, from start to finish the TPOOM staff made this as enjoyable an experience as a vaccine can be.”

Helen Hay was ‘really impressed with the efficiency of service’ and Michelle Anderson described the service as “excellent, fast and efficient”.

Te Puna Ora o Mataatua is currently offering vaccinations at their site on King Street Kopeopeo, however in the long term they will also be travelling across the rural Eastern Bay to make sure this is accessible to all Mataatua communities.

The groups who can come in and book their vaccination are 2Bs (frontline healthcare workers, those in residential care or receiving homebased care), Māori over 50 and their whānau.

People can book their vaccinations on 0800 628 228 option 9 then option 1, through emailing mobile.health@tpoom.co.nz or walking in to TPOOM’s main reception at the back of 92 King Street.

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