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One million SA jabs but hesitation still an issue

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South Australia has reached a new COVID-19 vaccination milestone with more than one million jabs administered since the rollout began, but new polling shows vaccine hesitancy still poses a problem for authorities.

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A total of 1,007,035 coronavirus vaccines have been administered in South Australia since February 22, according to the latest data from the Federal Government, including 15,399 on Thursday.

It means just over 24 per cent of South Australia’s eligible population is fully vaccinated, with 45.1 per cent having received at least one dose.

The one million jab millstone came as the State Government announced on Thursday that Pfizer vaccines would be available to everyone over the age of 16 from next month, with bookings at SA Health-run clinics opening on Monday.

But South Australia has also reclaimed the title of the most vaccine hesitant state in the nation, according to the latest Vaccine Hesitancy Tracker report from the Melbourne Institute.

According to the fortnightly report, the percentage of the South Australian population that is vaccine hesitant has risen from 23.9 per cent in July to 26.8 per cent in August.

South Australia’s proportion is marginally higher than Queensland (26.2 per cent) and Victoria (23.5 per cent).

Of those that are hesitant in SA, 12.8 per cent said they would not get a vaccine while 13.4 per cent said they don’t know yet.

Meanwhile, chief public health officer Nicola Spurrier says a new directive for mandatory vaccinations of staff at the Royal Adelaide and Women’s and Children’s Hospital is a “very sensible policy to have”.

“What hospitals are in a fairly unique position is that they could have anybody at any time in the community turn up with COVID,” Spurrier told ABC Radio.

“And so what they’re putting in place is a policy to protect this staff for when that happens.

“When we look at it from a public health point of view, we need to be sure that we’ve got enough evidence that making it mandatory for people to be vaccinated balances the human rights versus the public health benefits.”

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