Ministry result

Ministry of Health agrees to release Maori vaccination data

After two High Court forensic reviews, the director general of health is releasing data on unvaccinated Maori on the North Island – but with clear terms.

Photo: Robert kitchin

The health ministry had 72 hours to review its decision not to release the data to the Whānau Ora Commissioning Agency (WOCA), which twice went to the High Court.

The agency, which has a large network of Maori health providers, first sued the health ministry in October, arguing that the data was critical to boosting immunization rates and saving lives.

Officials had refused on the basis of privacy, but the court said they had to reconsider.

Since then, the ministry has provided data on unvaccinated Maori in Waikato and Auckland, but the agency returned to court at the end of last month, seeking individual data for each unvaccinated Maori in Te Ika-a- Māui.

In a letter sent to WOCA late last night, Dr Ashley Bloomfield outlined the data they will be releasing – as well as the iwi who opposed the release – so there are a number of conditions enforced by the ministry. to publish the information.

WOCA has requested data from all Maori who have not yet received a first dose of Covid-19 vaccine and who live in the Bay of Plenty, Hawke’s Bay, Lakes, Northland, Wairarapa and Whanganui DHB regions.

For these people, the data would include their name, personal contact details such as address, phone number, and National Health Index (INSA) number.

Bloomfield has agreed to provide WOCA and Whānau Tahi with data on all unvaccinated Maori in Northland, Hawke’s Bay and Whanganui, but a reduced amount of data on those in Wairarapa, Lakes DHB and Bay of Plenty, because some iwis in these regions oppose the communication of data to WOCA or wish to enter into a data correspondence agreement with the ministry.

Whānau Ora commissioning agency general manager John Tamihere says the data is too few, too late.

“So with resistance and reluctance, we finally got it and the Auckland border opens in four days, it takes about 5 to 6 days to operate it, then bring our regions together to work out a redeployment of our assets. against the information now that we can target for the very first time our immunization capacity that is not going to be able to work with this data before Christmas.

“It’s a feeling of sabotage, here’s the remarkable thing about it, it’s premeditated, if it was by mistake I would have figured it out, but this guy was absolutely resistant every turn for it and tried. to find all the excuses. “

Tamihere does not know when he will put the data in his hands.

He said they would wait for release.

“If we could have achieved this earlier in September, we would be way ahead.

“In the first case, he argued that we didn’t have the ability or the ability. That if we got it, we would be intimidating and mean to people and undermining vaccine progress and invasion of privacy. and the rest he was struck, on which we would call the pākehātanga. ” Tamihere said.

In the letter, Bloomfield said Rangitāne Tū Mai Rā and Ngāti Kahungunu ki Wairarapa Tamaki nui-a-Rua expressed their opposition to sharing data with WOCA and requested this data through their collective Ko Wairarapa Tēnei.

He said only 98 other Maori in Wairarapa needed to be vaccinated in order to achieve a 90 percent first vaccination rate for Maori in the area.

“This achievement is the result of the Ko Wairarapa Tēnei collective’s efforts to increase their vaccination rates,” Bloomfield said.

He said that by agreeing to share the data with WOCA, he expects WOCA to work closely with iwi on the ground to ensure that efforts are coordinated and respectful of the community mahi.

He also agreed to provide WOCA and Whānau Tahi with data relating to Maori living in the DHB Lake District, who have not yet received a first dose of a Covid vaccine but excluding data for the inhabitants of the Ngāti Tarāwhai Iwi Trust Board.

“This iwi has entered into a data match agreement with the ministry to have its data excluded from the dataset shared with WOCA,” Bloomfield said.

“This data matching exercise is ongoing, and only whānau who live within the DHB lake boundary will be excluded as part of the data matching. I understand that this approach is acceptable to you, as l ‘communicated your lawyer on December 7, “Bloomfield said in the letter.

Bloomfield will provide WOCA and Whānau Tahi with data relating to Maori living in the Bay of Plenty DHB region who have not yet received a first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine.

He noted the opposition of five iwis in the region to sharing data with WOCA.

The Ngāi Tai Iwi Authority has requested an arrangement similar to what was agreed for Ngāti Whatua Orakei.

“When the providers mandated by WOCA identify that a person is affiliated with the Ngāi Tai Iwi Authority, they will: inform the Ngāitai Iwi Authority that the provider has been in contact with the person or whānau, the result of this contact and the information The authority may decide to follow up with the whānau and seek to engage with them based on their relationships and relationships.

“I anticipate that other iwis may request similar arrangements, and propose that WOCA and the ministry agree to work in good faith to agree to similar arrangements in the event that another iwi seeks a similar bespoke data sharing arrangement. to what is reflected for Ngāti Whatua Ōrakei, ”Bloomfield said.

WOCA also had a second request from the Department of Health to release data in an effort to reach Maori who received a first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, but have yet to receive a second dose.

The request is for this data for all people who have identified themselves as Maori in health data sets and who live on the North Island. The data would include their name, personal contact details, phone number and INSA.

The ministry had previously offered to provide this dataset with the aim of reaching Maori who have not yet received their second dose of Covid-19 vaccine, including people who do not have a future vaccine reservation for their second vaccine and it has been eight weeks or more since their first vaccine.

Bloomfield has agreed to provide WOCA and Whānau Tahi with data relating to Maori on the North Island who have received a first dose of Covid-19 vaccine, but have not yet received a second dose, in subsequent installments. :

At 3-4 weeks following a first dose of vaccine, which are not registered with a primary care provider and do not have a reservation.

At 6 weeks after a first dose of vaccine, including those who are registered with another primary care provider and do not have a reservation for a second dose.

Bloomfield said this is because people registered with a provider often have an established relationship with that provider.

“Many providers will use their own systems and processes to follow up and arrange for a second dose of vaccine,” he said.

“We consider it important to reduce the potential for Maori to receive multiple phone calls from multiple service providers, including Whakarongorau, Whānau Ora, as well as their own primary health care provider. We expect you to use this data to help Maori access a second dose of vaccine.

The Director-General also outlined certain provisions in the letter.

“As you know, a number of iwis across Te Ika a Māui remain opposed to sharing individuals’ individual data with WOCA. A range of reasons have been expressed for this, including individual consent to be sought from individuals. who can be contacted by WOCA and that iwi has a legitimate interest in the protection of data relating to its persons and those living in their takiwā.

“The data requested is Maori data, other Maori data is subject to the rights set out in the Treaty of Waitangi and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples,” Bloomfield said.

He proposes that the data-sharing agreement between organizations states that the data provided can only be used to support the planning, monitoring, inviting, delivery and quality improvement of immunization services. Covid-19 for Maori who are not fully vaccinated.

Bloomfield expects them to work with WOCA providers, relevant iwi and other providers to coordinate awareness and support access to Covid-19 vaccinations for Maori who are not fully vaccinated; have a clear answer when the people contacted ask where the provider got their contact details and how they know the person is not vaccinated; WOCA will delete information relating to any person indicating that they do not wish their data to be held by the requester; and the data provided must be kept until June 30, 2022 at the latest, after this date the information must be destroyed in a secure manner.