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New vaccine jabs open for SA over-12s and over-60s

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South Australian children over the age of 12 and adults over 60 will be eligible to receive the Moderna vaccine at pharmacies across the state, as SA Health directs 130 close contacts of a COVID-positive NSW truck driver into quarantine.

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The State Government announced a short time ago that the Moderna rollout, which started in South Australian pharmacies on Wednesday, will be expanded to over 12s and over 60s.

More than 140 pharmacies across the state are being supplied doses of the Moderna vaccine.

Batches of the mRNA jab began arriving in South Australia on Monday after the first shipments from overseas arrived in Sydney last weekend.

The TGA has granted approval for use of the Moderna vaccine for children 12 years and over, although nationally, over-60s are excluded from the Moderna rollout.

Health Minister Stephen Wade said the State Government’s decision to expand the rollout was made in a bid to provide “more convenience, more choice [and] more locations” for South Australians to access the vaccine.

“This is a great boost to our vaccination programme,” he told reporters.

“We urge all South Australians to get out and get vaccinated with our pharmacy network ramping up with Moderna.”

Children aged between 12 and 15 are already eligible to receive the Pfizer vaccine at state-run clinics.

As of Tuesday, 63.9 per cent of South Australians over the age of 16 have had their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, according to the latest vaccination data from the Federal Government.

More than 45 per cent of over-16s in SA are fully vaccinated, although lagging jab rates in the northern suburbs continue to concern authorities with the Salisbury, Port Adelaide Enfield and Playford council areas around 10 per cent behind the statewide average.

Meanwhile, 130 close contacts of a COVID-positive NSW truck driver who entered the state last week are now in quarantine after being contacted by SA Health.

Chief public health officer Nicola Spurrier on Wednesday revealed that the driver travelled through South Australia twice last week while delivering freight between New South Wales and Western Australia.

SA Health yesterday listed 10 exposures sites associated with the man in his 20s, who tested negative before beginning his cross-country journey and has had one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

Deputy chief public health officer Dr Emily Kirkpatrick today said SA Health have been able to identify and direct into quarantine 126 people who QR coded in at an exposure site, while another four people have come forward after filling out an SA Health survey.

“We’ll of course now be going through bank records, obtaining additional details from the petrol stations in particular with petrol cards [and] fuel cards,” Kirkpatrick said.

“And we’ll be making sure to tie up any loose ends with CCTV, and of course assistance from SAPOL.

“We know that this individual was symptomatic here on the 18th of September, so we absolutely need to be following up these sites ensuring that the South Australian community knows this is a real risk for us.

“We need to remain very vigilant that this is a real risk coming over from the eastern states.”

On his way into South Australia on Wednesday, September 15, the truck driver visited a northern suburbs Ampol Foodary in Direk from 10:15am to 11:30am, an OTR in Port Augusta from 2:30pm to 4:40pm, a Caltex petrol station in Penong and associated men’s shower block from 9:30pm to 11:20pm, and finally a Shell petrol station in Border Village from 2:15am to 3:45am on September 16.

On his way back to NSW on Saturday, September 18, he again stopped at the Shell in Border Village from 12:00am to 1:30am, the Caltex and shower block at Penong from 3:30am to 5:30am, the Golden Wattle Road House in Wudinna from 7:20am to 8:30am and a BP truck stop in Port Augusta from 10:30am to 12:30pm.

Anyone who was at any of these locations at the listed times is required to get tested immediately and quarantine for 14 days.

Kirkpatrick said she was “actually very impressed with the number of QR codes that have been utilised at these sites”.

Spurrier on Wednesday said the truckie wore a mask during his journey, “but I’m not sure if he was wearing it all the time”.

The latest virus scare marks the seventh time a COVID-positive interstate truckie has passed through the state in the last month.

It comes after restrictions on stand-up drinking outdoors and dancing at private events were eased this morning.

The changes, flagged after Tuesday’s transition committee meeting, allow up to 50 people to dance at one time at private activities and functions, such as weddings.

The number of people allowed at private functions remains at 150.

People are also now allowed to drink alcohol while standing up outdoors at licensed venues, including in beer gardens.

A testing requirement on travellers coming into South Australia from Greater Brisbane Is also set to be lifted on Saturday.

NSW recorded another 1063 cases and six deaths today, while Victoria reported 766 cases and four deaths.

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