Whanganui kaumātua are rolling up their sleeves to get whānau on board for Covid-19 jabs.
Kuia and koroua of the Kaunihera Kaumātua, which meets to discuss tribal matters in Whanganui every week, received the first dose of their Covid-19 protection on Monday and were keen to be an example for Māori to get their vaccinations.
The vaccine is being rolled out for people in Group 3 across the Whanganui, Rangitīkei and south Ruapehu districts.
Last week, Māori health provider Te Oranganui began vaccinating Māori aged 50 years and over, and their households.
Jacqui Turoa-Brown says she had no hesitation in getting the vaccination with the Kaunihera Kaumātua group today.
"I've lost sisters and brothers from emphysema and bad lungs. I get a flu injection every year, I don't see why this is going to be any different except that it's a new bug around the world and I want to protect myself and my children as well. We've survived polio, we've survived diptheria, all of that, and if it wasn't for some sort of vaccination … we're lucky that we've got it here in New Zealand and we can do it."
The Whanganui District Health Board will also begin vaccinating Māori aged 50 years and over this week, along with anyone aged 65 and over, those with underlying health conditions, and the disabled.
Underlying health conditions include mental illness and addiction, severe high blood pressure, those who are very overweight and anyone with a health condition that means they are eligible for a free flu vaccine.
A large vaccination facility will open on Wednesday in Whanganui city centre, at the former Warehouse Stationery premises in lower Victoria Avenue. The clinic is not a walk-in service. Appointments can be booked on 0800 888 479, or at Te Oranganui clinics across the city by phoning 0800 202 004.
The Covid-19 vaccination programme is being rolled out in Whanganui, Rangitīkei and southern Ruapehu by a leadership team including the Whanganui District Health Board and its iwi relationship group Hauora ā Iwi, the Whanganui Regional Health Network, the National Hauora Coalition, the Māori Health Outcomes Advisory Group and Māori health providers.