Auckland Hapū Helps Bolster AUT’s Booster Shot Uptake
By David Williams (he/him)
Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei has administered dozens of booster shots to AUT students and staff as Māori-led community providers step up in response to Omicron. Members of their staff administered booster shots to AUT students, staff, and contractors at the City and North Campuses early in semester one. In the face of the growing Omicron outbreak across Auckland, the hapū worked with AUT to park their #ShotDoy vaccination van in university parking lots and encouraged students and staff to get their boosters.
Their visit to the city campus saw close to 30 people receive vaccinations. Around 60 percent of the visitors that day were students, while the other 40 percent were staff.
“Lunchtime was busy, when we got here [it] was busy. It has mostly been a trickling effect since then,” said one of their members helping on the day.
Unfortunately, the van saw a lower uptake of shots at the North Campus with only five people receiving boosters. Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei is just one of several hapū that is part of a growing Māori-led, community focused vaccination drive. Their vaccination vans operate out of the Tāmaki vaccination centre in St Johns.
Their goal is to reach out to the community, build trust, and assist members of the public around the Auckland region who do not have the means of transport to go to a vaccination site. “We’ll go anywhere that wants us,” said one of the staff. “We’ve done Kaipara. That is basically the furthest we have been out,” added another.
Other organisations in Auckland’s central city have also worked alongside Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei to administer booster shots to staff. “We do have another team that has the same set-up as us, and they are doing the underground tunnel [the CRL].” The reaction to their walk-up vaccination clinics has been very positive.
“The fact that [it] is so easy to get to. They don’t have to worry about going down to the chemist. It is right on campus."