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Kaupapa Nurses offer COVID vaccine to inpatients and whānau

15 October 2021

The recent outbreak of COVID-19 has required considerable thinking outside the square. The six Kaupapa Nurses based at Tauranga Hospital have done just that, with Pou Kōkiri supporting and guiding them.

Kaupapa Nurses offer COVID vaccine to inpatients and whānau
(from left) Kaiwhakahaere Tipene Joseph and Kaupapa Nurses Kara Winiata and Brenda Vale

Registered Nurse Kara Winiata said that for the last four weeks, the Kaupapa Nurses have been connecting with Māori inpatients and their whānau at Tauranga Hospital, and vaccinating them on the spot if they want it.

“We felt that was really important to offer Māori whānau the COVID vaccine in a space that it is understood and have time for whakawhanangatanga, questions and to process the information,” Kara explained.

“There is a vaccination hesitancy in our community. We talk about the issues and try to tackle mis-information. It’s such a specific area because it’s often a complex situation. We take time to enhance the space with whakawhanaungatanga.”

They have had great success with their approach and Kara shared a story about a whānau who were vaccinated because of the connection the Kaupapa Nurses created through their routine community work.

“We talked with the Nanny who was in hospital and she wanted to get vaccinated because she trusted us. Then she told her whānau they should do it, so we vaccinated their whole family. They probably would not have gone out of their way to get vaccinated, but now they are vaccinated and safe. It shows the power of connection and trust and it’s amazing to have a positive impact on whānau,” Kara said.

“Looking forward, we definitely want to carry on doing inpatient vaccinations and we’re looking at different ways we can take it directly to whānau in the community.”