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Associate Health Minister Peeni Henare touring NZ to persuade Māori to get Covid-19 vaccine

New Zealand's Māori Health Minister has begun a national roadshow to convince Kiwis to be vaccinated for Covid-19.

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Peeni Henare said he looks forward to spreading a positive message in communities while educating people. Source: 1 NEWS

Associate Health Minister Peeni Henare will visit maraes, or meeting houses, and huis, or gatherings, across Aotearoa in coming weeks in the hope of persuading Māori to join the mass vaccination programme.

"I look forward to spreading the message around the vaccine and its efficacy and supporting it amongst our communities," he said in Wellington this afternoon.

NZ's vaccine strategy is sharply angled towards vulnerable groups.

That begins with those most at risk of getting the virus, including border workers and the country's health workforce, and those most likely to suffer worse health outcomes if they catch Covid-19.

Research has shown Māori and Pasifika more likely to be hospitalised or killed by Covid-19 than the pakeha, or non-Māori, population.

To date, 90,286 doses of the Pfizer vaccine have been administered.

However, data shows the proportion of Māori to have been vaccinated is lower than that of the general population.

To try and rectify the shortfall, Jacinda Ardern's government has put tens of millions of dollars behind Māori-specific vaccination initiatives.

Mr Henare said the challenges to vaccinating Māori were plentiful, including the need for more vaccinators and health workers, and reaching more remote regions.

"We know the health workforce broadly speaking has been under the pump," he said.

"Our job right now is to give (Māori providers) the capacity and support ... we're on target as far as I'm concerned."

The opposition has taken aim at the government's lacklustre vaccination rate.

In question time this afternoon, National's Covid-19 spokesman Chris Bishop produced a leaked document showing the government had fulfilled just a quarter of its proposed target.

Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield said earlier the government had achieved "96 per cent of forecasted numbers", denying a go-slow.

"From this coming week we're expecting 35,000 doses a week to be delivered, and it will continue to ramp up from there," he said.

"We've got a Pfizer-based programme, which provides some advantages. It is a highly effective and safe vaccine but it is the trickiest one logistically.

"We're standing up the vaccination programme on top of continuing to run our healthcare system ... and to manage our border.

"That is a significant deployment of our workforce."