COVID-19 vaccine: New poll shows 23 percent of Māori unlikely to get coronavirus jab

More than 20 percent of Māori say they're unlikely to get the COVID-19 vaccine if offered a well-tested and approved jab today, a new poll has found.

The poll, commissioned by The Hui and Horizon Research, revealed on Monday that 23 percent of Māori were unlikely or definitely wouldn't get the vaccine.

But 65 percent say they are likely to get the jab when offered it - 40 percent of those respondents say they'd definitely take it.

Of the 23 percent who said they were unlikely to get the jab, just 12 percent said they definitely wouldn't get it while the rest said it was unlikely or most unlikely.

"I think that it's absolutely a conversation starter," Selah Hart, the chief executive of Māori public health unit Hāpai Te Hauora, said of the poll. "I think that what we really need to be looking at how we understand all of the mistrust that sits within our whānau and communities across hundreds of years.

COVID-19 vaccine: New poll shows 23 percent of Māori unlikely to get coronavirus jab
Photo credit: The Hui

"It's really encouraging to see that there is a good proportion of that data that's demonstrating that there is an appetite."

The poll sampled the views of more than 500 Māori and has an overall margin of error of 4.2 percent.

It comes after Ministry of Health data released on Sunday showed 550,000 New Zealanders were unlikely to accept a COVID-19 vaccine. 

"The advice we're getting is - Māori and Pasifika are peoples that are most vulnerable from COVID," Deputy Director-General of Māori Health John Whaanha told The Hui.

"Certainly, as the Government's looking at the moment, they're looking to address those most vulnerable first.

"We need to make sure that Māori and Pasifika are part of those vulnerable groups that are vaccinated early on in the campaign."

Border and health workerss are being prioritised in New Zealand's vaccine rollout with 9000 frontline workers receiving the vaccine last week, which will be followed by other at-risk people - including those with underlying health conditions. 

The Government has set aside almost $1 billion from the COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund to secure access to coronavirus vaccines. It will be New Zealand's largest immunisation rollout ever.