Only five district health boards around the country have yet to reach the 90 per cent target for first doses of the Covid-19 vaccination – one of them is Whanganui.
Fifteen of the country's 20 DHBs are reporting reaching the 90 per cent first-dose vaccination target, but as of Thursday the Northland, Lakes, Tairawhiti, West Coast and Whanganui District Health Boards were all at between 85 per cent and 89 per cent. The West Coast needs only another 366 vaccinations to reach the target.
In the Whanganui District Health Board area, the first-dose uptake is 88 per cent, with 1360 vaccinations needed to get to 90 per cent.
The first-dose uptake by Māori in the region is 78 per cent, with 1647 vaccinations needed to reach the government target. The Pasifika community needs only 92 first doses.
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However, an iwi leader says that while high vaccination rates are the best protection for vulnerable communities, families must also put plans in place for tamariki under the age of 12. Under 12s are not yet eligible for vaccination but are now among those contracting Covid-19.
Ngā Tāngati Tiaki o Whanganui chair Sheena Maru says many whānau were seeing the closure of schools for the holidays as providing some protection for tamariki.
"That's the thing that we've got to talk about. We need whānau to be able to put plans in place to protect those under 12. What I'm saying is have the conversations to put together whānau plans [around] who is going to take care of [people] if someone gets sick.
"Soon it will be the holiday period and our tamariki [won't be] going to kura, so you kind of have that layer of protection. I know for a fact that lots of people are just looking forward to being at home in the rohe and moving themselves away from some of this anxious time."