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Dozens more schools targeted to lift SA vaccination rates

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COVID vaccination hubs will open at another 54 schools in lagging areas across Adelaide and the regions, as data shows South Australia still has the second lowest rate in the country for 12-15 year olds.

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Schools COVID plans

The hubs are on top of 24 already operating at SA schools, with health authorities hoping to vaccinate 34,000 students by the end of the school term.

The sites have been chosen in areas to give priority access to vulnerable communities and those with lower vaccination rates (see the full list of schools here).

Authorities are also now considering mandatory vaccinations for teachers and school staff.

The school hub expansion comes as latest Federal Government data shows that as at October 30, only one in five 12-15 year olds in SA are fully vaccinated – the second lowest rate in the country, behind Western Australia where 19 per cent are double jabbed.

The ACT has the highest rate in that age group, with 80 per cent full vaccinated, followed by NSW at 62 per cent.

In SA, less than half of 12-15 year olds have had one jab.

Of South Australians aged 16 and over, 66 per cent are now fully vaccinated, while nearly 82 per cent have had one jab.

Premier Steven Marshall today said expanding the number of school-based clinics would help the state reach vaccination targets outlined in the “Covid-ready” plan released last week, which will see borders opened and restrictions eased.

“Vaccination is the key to South Australians enjoying the freedom and mobility that we are all hoping for this Christmas,” Marshall said.

On November 23 – when the government hopes 80 per cent of South Australians aged 16 and over will be fully vaccinated – borders will be opened, allowing fully vaccinated people in from interstate without having to quarantine except in certain circumstances.

Fully vaccinated international arrivals will also be allowed in but they will have to quarantine for a week.

The plan states that when SA reaches a 90 per cent double-dosed rate – which the Premier has said he expects before Christmas – that quarantine requirement will be dropped and restrictions “on most activities” will be lifted.

The school-based vaccination hubs will offer jabs to students aged 12 to 18 with parental consent.

Parents, siblings and school staff will also be able to get their shots at the clinics.

The government said schools would communicate directly with families to let them know when the clinics will run.

Vaccinations for under-12s have not yet been approved in Australia.

Chief Public health officer Professor Nicola Spurrier today said authorities were also considering mandatory vaccinations for teachers and school staff.

“It’s definitely something we are looking at,” she told reporters.

“We have to think through all of the pros and cons in going down that path and we’re in the process of doing just that and also looking at what other states have done in that regard.”

The Education Department is conducting a ventilation audit to see if any modifications are needed in schools to help reduce the spread of the virus.

Health Minister Stephen Wade has previously stated “the evidence is not there for air purifiers” but the department has said nothing is being ruled in or out, until the audit is completed with results expected in early December.

A department spokesperson told InDaily last week that schools would continue to shut down for at least 24 hours when a student tests positive to COVID, once the borders open and the virus enters the state.

The 54 new school clinics will be opened at:

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