There are fears Covid's increasing spread among Auckland's marginalised communities is putting thousands of children in emergency housing at risk.
Welfare groups are now rushing to vaccinate rough sleepers, gang members and emergency housing tenants in a bid to not only protect families but help ensure Auckland and New Zealand aren't locked down until Christmas.
It comes as transitional housing tenants and gang members have made up the majority of cases in recent weeks.
That's put the 1305 children listed as staying in emergency housing in Auckland in the three months to June at risk.
One mum living in a Manukau motel said she and another two residents were recently taken into quarantine as a close contact of cases in the northern Hauraki cluster linked to a Mt Eden prisoner.
All three were found to have had Covid, although two of the cases were found to be historical - likely from five to six weeks ago, she said.
The woman, who didn't want to be named, said she was amazed no one else in the 40 room motel had so far caught the virus.
"Every room is packed here, there are families," she said.
"And during the lockdown nobody abided by any of the lockdown rules - the whole of the motel was our bubble and that is just telling the truth."
With Māori vaccination rates lagging behind other communities, some are now likening the growing Covid outbreak to a potential health disaster.
Leading Māori health researcher Dr Rawiri Taonui warned that should the virus break out to regions with low vaccination rates - such as Northland and parts of Taranaki and Bay of Plenty - then the situation could become akin to the 1918 Spanish flu outbreak.
That influenza strain arrived in New Zealand in October 1918 and killed about 9000 people in just two months.
Taonui said those unvaccinated are 27 times more likely to be get infected by Covid and 80 to 90 times more likely to be hospitalised compared to a fully vaccinated person.
Should such a health crisis hit, it would not only keep the nation in lockdown longer but could threaten the health of children, with those aged under 12 unable to receive the Covid vaccine.
American researchers studying the US outbreak say it's still too early to confirm whether the more infectious Delta variant is also more dangerous to children, despite anecdotal evidence it is.
Either way, Peter Shimwell, community services manager with non-profit group Lifewise, said it was concerning that there had been recent cases in crowded Auckland emergency housing accommodation.
"Often transitional and emergency motels are places you've got a lot of people, families and couples living in close proximity and not always maintaining health protocols, keeping 2m distances and wearing masks," he said.
"It is really hard to get that message to vulnerable groups, and once Delta gets a foothold it really races through a population."
Shimwell said his team had managed to vaccinate almost half the people they are working with and supporting into transitional and longer term housing.
But he admitted it had been hard work.
Normally Lifewise likes to bring in peers - people who have previously been homeless or in transitional housing themselves - to help reassure others the community group is working with.
But under Covid restrictions it is hard to have face-to-face gatherings.
There is also the battle against misinformation.
Still Lifewise is prepared to keep running repeated mobile vaccination clinics - even though they only reach small numbers of people each time - in the hope that every person vaccinated goes and tells two or three others the vaccine is fine, Shimwell said.
"We are gonna have to repeat that strategy over and over until we've reached enough people," he said.
According to the Ministry of Health, more than 1000 homeless people in Auckland had now had at least one dose of the vaccine.
"This work started before the current outbreak and will continue," it said.
Hurimoana Dennis from Auckland's Te Puea Memorial Marae, meanwhile, helps needy families transition into longer term housing and agreed there are challenges boosting Māori vaccination rates, but said he is optimistic it can be done sooner rather than later.
He heads Taumata Kōrero - a group of 13 Māori service providers - that meet with the government every second day on Zoom to discuss the vaccination programme.
He said the service providers are all doers rather than talkers with existing networks of clients.
They are busy taking vaccines directly to the families, who wouldn't otherwise show up at regular, more formal vaccine clinics - showing up with friendly and respected faces as well as food.
"We are using kai and food vouchers as an incentive to get vaccinated," Dennis said.
"There is a lot going on, and we're pretty determined we are not going to be spending Christmas locked down like this."
Taumata Kōrero had so far fed 13,000 whanau in its outreach programme, delivering 24 tonnes of food, Dennis said.
Yet there have even been hurdles within Taumata Kōrero, with one of the group heads previously being anti-vax, until he changed his mind and recently got vaccinated at Manurewa Marae with his whanau, Dennis said.
It showed it was important not to exclude anyone but work with them to get vaccinated, he said.
And according to the woman living in the Manukau motel where the recent Covid scare had forced families into isolation, a similarly patient approach would also be needed.
"Many mums and families here seem anti-vaccine at the moment," she said.