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Northern suburbs clinic to target area's lower vaccination rates

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SA Health will open a new pop-up Pfizer clinic in Pooraka as authorities look to boost lagging vaccination rates in the northern suburbs, with the Premier admitting the government is “not satisfied” with uptake in the area.

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The new clinic will be located at the South Australian Produce Market in Pooraka and will offer 1500 Pfizer vaccines a week when it opens on September 21.

The clinic will be open for both pre-booked appointments and walk-ins, and is open to anyone in the general public over the age of 16.

Premier Steven Marshall said the increase in Pfizer supply from the Federal Government allowed SA Health to open the Pooraka clinic.

“We think there are going to be a lot of people that are either permanently based here, or work for the companies that are based here, that will come because it’s very, very convenient,” Marshall told reporters this morning.

“We can only do this because the Federal Government have secured those five and a half million additional doses of the Pfizer vaccine that will be coming in over and above what we originally thought we were going to get.”

The announcement comes after the most recent Federal Government geographical breakdown of vaccine data revealed the Adelaide-North region currently has the lowest rate of vaccination in the state.

The data shows just 48.3 per cent of people aged over 15 in the area have received at least one dose of a vaccine as of September 5, compared to more than 60 per cent in the Adelaide Central, South and Hills regions.

The next lowest region is Adelaide-West, where 51.2 per cent of the eligible population has received at least one dose, while the South Australian outback is at 51.4 per cent.

The latest geographical breakdown of vaccination rates in South Australia (Source: Federal Government)

Marshall said low vaccination rates in the northern suburbs were part of the decision to open the Pooraka clinic.

“In the Salisbury area we’re not satisfied with the vaccination rate and that’s one of the reasons why we chose this site,” he said.

“It’s an excellent site, but it’s also in the middle of a community that has got lower-level vaccination than what we are satisfied with.”

As of Monday, 54.3 per cent of the South Australian population has received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, with 37.7 per cent of the state fully vaccinated.

Marshall said health authorities do not want to see an “uneven distribution” of the state’s vaccinated population once South Australia reaches the 80 per cent vaccination threshold required to end state-wide lockdowns.

“That’s one of the reasons why we’re now looking for opportunities in those local government areas where we have got lower vaccination rates,” he said.

“What we’re going to be doing over the next couple of months is looking at areas where we do have a low uptake and trying to make it even more convenient for people to go and get that vaccination.

“You can probably expect there will be other opportunities as they present themselves for us to make [vaccination] as easy as possible.”

SA Health on Tuesday announced it would double the capacity of the Wayville vaccination clinic to offer 35,000 more appointments a week, while a pop-up Pfizer clinic on level three of the Myer Centre in Rundle Mall will open next Tuesday and offer up to 1000 appointments a week.

South Australia’s vaccine rollout is still the third-slowest in the nation, only ahead of Queensland and Western Australia.

Marshall said authorities had “done some work trying to understand hesitancy around vaccines”.

“[For] some people it’s the choice of vaccine, some people who just don’t like needles and are feeling a bit hesitant, some who want more medical advice and some it’s a matter of convenience,” he said.

“So we try to address all of these issues.”

The Premier urged anyone hesitant about getting a jab to look at the situation in New South Wales, where another 1480 cases and nine deaths were recorded today.

“This is essentially a disease of the unvaccinated – I can’t stress this long enough.”

No new cases in SA

South Australia recorded no new COVID-19 cases overnight after a sixth COVID-positive truckie entered the state on Tuesday.

There are currently 916 South Australians in quarantine as of Tuesday evening, after visiting one of more than 20 exposure sites dotted across the state.

SA Health says 88 per cent of those in quarantine have returned a negative test so far.

Deputy chief public health officer Dr Emily Kirkpatrick said the number of people in directed quarantine was down from the day before following a further risk assessment.

“That number has come down and we would expect it about that that number probably will reduce even further as we continue our more thorough investigations into these particular truck drivers who have come into the stage,” Kirkpatrick told reporters this morning.

A Wingfield petrol station was added to SA Health’s list of exposure tier 2 sites overnight after SA Health conducted further investigations into the sixth truck driver’s movements.

Kirkpatrick said the BP Truck Stop at the corner of Grand Junction and Dunstan roads was the only “public” exposure site listed by SA Health, but “this particular truck driver had been in a number of locations”.

“We have been working through and contacting those businesses, looking at CCTV and of course getting those very important COVID-19 tests undertaken for people who have been at those particular private businesses,” Kirkpatrick said.

“There is no risk that we’re aware of to the community with this particular truck driver.”

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