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Urgent call to extend northern suburbs vax hub hours


Playford’s mayor has called on SA Health to “immediately” extend opening hours at the Elizabeth vaccination hub after new figures showed the area will be far behind the statewide 80 per cent double-vaxxed target when South Australia reopens its borders on November 23.

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The latest federal government figures, correct as of Sunday, show the populous northern suburbs of Playford and Salisbury are at 56 and 63.6 per cent fully vaccinated for over-16s.

That’s compared to a statewide double-dose vaccination average of 70.6 per cent, with 83.8 per cent of South Australians over the age of 16 having received at least one dose of a vaccine.

In an attempt to boost local jab rates, SA Health last week temporarily extended the opening hours of the Elizabeth vaccination hub on Tuesday and Thursday, and opened a new seven-day walk-in clinic at Munno Para Shopping Centre

Playford Mayor Glenn Docherty said he would like to see this extension made permanent “immediately”.

“Vaccination rates in our area are increasing. It is a concern that they are lower than other parts of Adelaide,” he told InDaily.

“Council is working closely with SA Health to identify opportunities to further expand the vaccine rollout in parts of Playford with the lowest take up rates.

“This has included providing contacts for local community groups and community leaders to help spread the word on vaccination.

“Extended opening hours are being trialled at the Elizabeth vaccination clinic, in the Playford Civic Centre, which is a welcome initiative, but in my view should be made permanent by SA Health immediately.”

Docherty also noted that “borders will soon be reopening and if we want to get our life back to normal then I’d encourage everyone who wants to get a vaccine, to get one now”.

He also said the new pop-up clinic at the Munno Para Shopping Centre has given “easier access to those living in the northern and western parts of Playford”.

“We’re also seeing mobile clinics visiting employers and community groups, which are helping to boost the vaccination rate,” he said.

According to updated projections from South Australian data scientist Ben Moretti, Playford is now on track to reach the 80 per cent double-dose milestone on January 2 – five days earlier than his model’s previous projections, but still more than five weeks after the state reopens its borders on November 23.

Moretti, who is using a linear progression model from the last 11 weeks of available data to predict future vaccination outcomes, also predicts Salisbury won’t reach the 80 per cent mark until December 12 despite its recent spike in double-dose vaccination.

“By and large it’s progressing along the same prediction,” Moretti said.

“Playford has increased their rate a little bit, so you’ve seen a bit of an uptick and that will bring that date where they hit 80 per cent forward a bit.

“Hopefully that continues.”

Playford is still projected to be the state’s least vaccinated LGA on November 23 with a double-dose rate of just 60.9 per cent, with the adjacent Adelaide Plains only slightly ahead at 61.7 per cent.

Salisbury is edging closer to the 80 per cent single dose milestone, with 79.5 per cent in the area having come forward for a jab.

Playford is around five points behind at 74.3 per cent single dosed.

Yet the percentage of over-16s in Playford to receive a first dose increased by only 3.8 points this week, marginally down on the 4.2 and 4.5 point increases the area recorded in the two weeks before.

Similarly, Salisbury only recorded a 3.1 point growth in first dose vaccinations – its lowest-ever recorded weekly increase and well down on its previous average first dose growth of 3.61 points per week.

More positively, the number of fully vaccinated residents in Playford and Salisbury grew by 4.7 percentage points, the largest increase recorded in both areas since the federal government began publishing local government area vaccination data on August 27.

Premier Steven Marshall reiterated on Friday that the State Government would not delay South Australia’s border reopening date if the vaccination rate of some regions lagged.

Today, Marshall said SA Health’s “mobile capability” was being deployed to regions with low vaccination rates.

“We’ve got a unit which sits within SA Health which is looking at all and every possibility to get people who are unvaccinated vaccinated as quickly as possible,” he told reporters.

“The schools program has been extraordinarily successful – not only are students getting vaccinated but what we find is when they go home, they tell their parents about how easy it was, then the parents, the friends and the neighbours are getting vaccinated as well.

“I know with certain sporting events we’re setting up mobile vaccination clinics so that people can go along, watch their favourite team, have that vaccination at the same time.

“We’ve got the multicultural event that’s being held in Victoria Square coming up very soon where we’ll also have a mobile vaccination clinic.

“This mobile capability that we now have can be deployed to where we see large numbers of people who are in LGAs where we do have a vaccination rate below that state average.”

The number of South Australian LGAs in Ben Moretti’s model not projected to reach the 80 per cent double dose mark remains at 30.

“It would still be slightly over half [of LGAs] that will be under 80 per cent by the 23rd,” Moretti said.

“We are seeing quite a lot between the 70 to 80 per cent double vax band, which is really good.”

The Adelaide Plains, which has an over-15s population of just under 7500, currently has South Australia’s lowest recorded LGA double-dose rate at 55.6 per cent and is not projected to reach 80 per cent until New Year’s Day.

Eight South Australian LGAs have now passed the 80 per cent double-dose mark, with Burnside leading the way at 86.2 per cent fully vaccinated.

The eastern suburbs area is closely followed by Mitcham (82.8 per cent doble-dosed), Orroroo/Carrieto (82 per cent), Holdfast Bay (81.9 per cent), the Adelaide Hills (81.7 per cent), Walkerville (81.6 per cent), Victor Harbor (81.4 per cent) and Unley (80.5).

Ten LGAs have also now passed 90 per cent first dose vaccination, with Mount Gambier leading the way with more than 95 per cent of its more than 21,000 residents coming forward for a jab.

The majority of South Australia COVID-19 restrictions are not set to ease until 90 per cent of the state’s population over the age of 12 is fully vaccinated.

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