The South Australian state government has sought legal advice to see if COVID-19 vaccines should become mandatory for medi-hotel workers.
Advice has also been sought to determine if staff who aren’t vaccinated should be moved into other roles.
Earlier this week it was revealed 15 per cent of the state’s medi-hotel workers had not been vaccinated, with some people deciding against getting the jab.
While the state government is “exploring its legal options”, premier Steven Marshall said the commonwealth advice was that making vaccinations mandatory was not required.
“We’ll continue to listen to that advice… and if we need to adjust that we certainly will,” Marshall said on Thursday.
He said SA had a different medi-hotel arrangement compared to other states because it had a dedicated quarantine facility for COVID positive patients.
According to the premier, all staff at the dedicated facility have been vaccinated.
SA Health deputy chief public health officer Emily Kirkpatrick said advice on the matter was also sought from AHPPC to see if the Commonwealth would set a direction for all jurisdictions.
“We are aware there are other jurisdictions that have looked at this and implemented processes around vaccination for the quarantine pathway workers,” she said.
“Particularly, we’re interested in the work, health and safety legislation around this.
“We need to look at the legal requirements and make sure we are prioritising the safety and wellbeing of our staff.”
Kirkpatrick said authorities received feedback from medi-hotel staff, with a number of employees claiming they want to see sites being fully vaccinated.
“It’s a high risk setting. We know international arrivals are our biggest risk so of course you could understand workers onsite would like everyone to be vaccinated,” she said.
It was also announced two additional vaccination hubs will be established in Adelaide’s northern and southern suburbs.
The old Masters building in Noarlunga Centre and the Playford Civic Centre in Elizabeth will become dedicated facilities that will administer 3000 jabs each week.
Both sites are anticipated to be dedicated Pfizer facilities which are due to open in early June.
As of 5pm on Wednesday, the state has 23,010 doses of the Pfizer vaccine in stock.
More than 100,000 South Australians have been vaccinated to date, with numbers expected to scale up as the clinics open.
Health Minister Stephen Wade said if there were issues with Pfizer supplies, the hubs could facilitate AstraZeneca vaccinations.
“It’s all part of making sure we make vaccines available, particularly to the Phase 1A and 1B cohort initially, then moving to other cohorts in time,” he said.Do you have an idea for a story?
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