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Inequities in Covid-19 Omicron infections and hospitalisations for Māori and Pacific people in Te Manawa Taki Midland region, New Zealand

Covid-19 impacts population health equity. While mRNA vaccines protect against serious illness and death, little New Zealand (NZ) data exists about the impact of Omicron - and effectiveness of vaccination - on different population groups. We aim to examine the impact of Omicron on Māori, Pacific and Other ethnicities and how this interacts with age and vaccination status in the Te Manawa Taki Midland region of NZ. Daily Covid-19 infection and hospitalisation rates (01/02/2022 - 29/06/2022) were calculated for Māori, Pacific and Other ethnicities for six age bands. A multivariate logistic regression model quantified the effects of ethnicity, age, and vaccination on hospitalisation rates. Per-capita Omicron cases were highest and occurred earliest among Pacific (9 per 1,000) and Māori (5 per 1,000) people and were highest among 12-24 year-olds (7 per 1,000). Hospitalisation was significantly more likely for Māori (OR=2.03), Pacific people (OR=1.75), over 75-year olds (OR=39.22), and unvaccinated people (OR=4.64). Length of hospitalisation is strongly related to age. Covid-19 vaccination reduces hospitalisations for older individuals and Māori and Pacific populations. Omicron inequitably impacted Māori and Pacific people through higher per-capita infection and hospitalisation rates. Older people are more likely to be hospitalised and for longer.
Journal Article
Type of thesis
© The Author(s), 2023. This is an author’s accepted version of an article published by Cambridge University Press.