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SA vaccination rates examined amid debate over crowd caps

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SA Health executives will meet on Friday to discuss the vaccine rollout and the “adequacy” of the state’s hotel quarantine system, with a report examining how COVID-19 was transmitted inside the Playford medi-hotel set to be handed down this week.

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The SA Health meeting comes after Police Commissioner Grant Stevens flagged on Tuesday that health authorities were investigating an “optimal” vaccination figure that would enable the state’s transition committee to ease the state’s COVID-19 restrictions.

“SA Health are having further discussions this week about identifying what an optimal number of vaccinations looks like so that we can actually properly consider relaxing some of these restrictions,” he said.

The police commissioner added that transition committee would review this advice at their next meeting on June 1.

But in a statement late on Tuesday, Chief Public Health Officer Nicola Spurrier appeared to downplay the prospect of setting a vaccination threshold for lifting public restrictions.

“A routine meeting of health executives will be held this Friday to discuss a range of health matters, including COVID-19, the vaccination program and future strategic planning,” Spurrier said.

“While South Australia has the least restrictions out of any state or territory in the nation, the most important thing South Australians can do to ensure we remain in the best possible position is to rollup to get vaccinated when it is their turn.”

Spurrier said SA Health would continue to review the vaccine’s effectiveness and the “adequacy” of the state’s hotel quarantine system.

She also noted that authorities are “less likely to need measures like widespread requirements for isolation, lockdowns and border closures if people rollup to get fully vaccinated”.

InDaily understands health officials are not preparing a community vaccination target for the sole purpose of lifting restrictions.

As of Tuesday, 233,985 people in SA have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine – roughly 13 per cent of the state’s population.

The bulk of these have been administered by GPs and primary care centres (129,992 doses), followed by state-run health clinics (81,460) and Commonwealth aged and disability care centres (22,553).

However, the most recently available federal government data for South Australia shows the Commonwealth have vaccinated just six disabled people and four support workers in residential care facilities as of May 6.

It is unclear how many disabled people and support workers have been vaccinated in State Government-run residential facilities or have made their own arrangements with a GP or at a state-run clinic.

Meanwhile, an investigation into how COVID-19 was transmitted inside the Playford medi-hotel is “expected to be complete in the coming week” according to Spurrier.

Earlier this month, a Victorian man travelling from overseas contracted the virus while quarantining on the same floor as another man who had tested positive for COVID-19.

The Victorian man completed quarantine in SA and flew home to Melbourne where he was active in the community for several days, prompting a contact tracing scramble from Victorian health officials with hundreds of people asked to get tested.

SA Health also required 10 returned travellers who quarantined on level three of the Playford Hotel to restart their 14-days quarantine.

Victoria has not recorded a new local COVID-19 case since the man arrived back in Melbourne, with around 150 close contacts of the man testing negative for the virus.

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