A Murupara kaumātua says he and other local Māori don't want the Pfizer vaccine and are waiting for other vaccines they think will be more effective.
The central North Island town has the lowest vaccination rate in the country despite the push to increase Māori vaccination rates. More than 90 per cent of its residents are Māori.
But Pem Bird of Ngāti Manawa says they won't be getting the jab just yet.
“We're not following the Crown's directive. That has been our position for a while,” he said. “We won't jump when we're told to. We want the freedom to choose. We want a different vaccine.”
The majority of Murupara have every right to decline the Pfizer vaccine. That is their right. i think it is a stupid decision that will lead to many in their community getting sick or dying, but that is their decision.
But their decision, should not hold the rest of NZ hostage. new zealand should lift lockdowns based on everyone having had the opportunity to get the vaccine, not based on a specific percentage. If the government says that 95% of over 12s must be vaccinated to lift the lockdown in Auckland, then the decisions of people in places like Murupara will effectively hold Auckland hostage.
There is no longer any supply constraints on the Pfizer vaccine. The Government should say that everyone who wants their first jab has until say 1 November to get it. With three weeks wait for a second job, that is 22 November for second jabs and around 6 December for the vaccines to be fully effective.