Dawn Chorus: The PM's unexpected vaccine trip to Murupara

PM takes urgent, unannounced trip to Rotorua, Murupara and East Coast as data reveals Māori vaccination rates there lowest in the country; US debt default crisis pushed back to mid-Dec

TLDR & TLDL: The Government’s decision earlier this year to prioritise vaccine distribution by age and medical condition, rather than ethnicity, is coming home to roost in a potentially lethal way.

PM Jacinda Ardern faces intensifying criticism from Māori health experts over that decision and the-now-low vaccination rates among Māori, particularly in remote communities and among urban youth. The urgency and the gravity of the situation is escalating as Covid spreads down and up the North Island on the hunt for the unvaccinated. Yesterday a positive case was found to have visited Whangarei, Hamilton and Raglan’s level three area was widened to all of the Waikato and down into the King Country, and fears are growing we’re on the edge of a Sydney or Melbourne-type explosion in cases.

The potential for a tragic worsening of the existing inequalities is frightening and it is now a simple drag race to vaccinate everyone everywhere as fast as possible before Covid gets into those communities.

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