South Australia could reopen borders in mid-November when the state is predicted to reach 80 per cent vaccinated.
However, millions of people in Sydney and Melbourne will be locked up for potentially months longer as they still have hundreds of active cases.
Instead, a staged re-opening is planned, starting with fully vaccinated residents from low-risk parts in NSW and Victoria that have few cases.
But even with this overly-cautious plan, Premier Steven Marshall is being warned to delay any re-opening even after the 80 per cent threshold is reached.
South Australian officials are planning a staged reopening when the state reaches 80 per cent of the population being fully vaccinated (pictured, a woman receives a vaccine)
Mr Marshall said he was ‘fully committed’ to opening state borders and ending lockdowns for good by Christmas.
However, health authorities are monitoring the varying vaccination rates across the state and may wait for lagging areas to catch up.
Mr Marshall said that they needed to ‘get some equity’ across areas of the region with lower vaccination rates, meaning the day the 80 per cent target is reached won’t necessarily mean travellers will be let in.
The premier will in coming days explain the rationale behind the speed of reopening to keep South Australian following the rules.
Opposition Leader Peter Malinauskas said that the premier needed to be honest about the potential impact on a ‘health system already in crisis’ if the state’s borders reopened too early.
The state is predicted to reach the 80 per cent mark in mid-November, but Premier Steven Marshall is being urged to delay the reopening (pictured, people exercising in lockdown)
Mr Malinauskas said that the government was already concerned about the state’s health system, as it is incredibly overcrowded and not dealing with the influx of cases.
‘We all want life to return to normal as quickly as possible, but it is clear the perilous state of our health system under Steven Marshall is posing a risk to our pathway out of this pandemic,’ Mr Malinauskas told Adelaide Now.
The actual process of allowing immunised Australians into South Australia is not yet known, but the premier suggested vaccination passports will be added to the mySA GOV app.
The state could also use a G2G Pass system similar to that of Tasmania and Western Australia.
To get a digital entry pass into those states, a vaccination passport, driver’s license, and other proof of identity documents must be provided.
South Australia has pockets that have incredibly low vaccination rates, and officials will be monitoring rates before borders are opened (pictured, a test centre in Adelaide)
The Grant Council, surrounding the Mount Gambier district has only 9 per cent of the population fully vaccinated (pictured, a testing centre in Adelaide)
South Australia has 65.6 per cent of residents aged over 16 with at least their first dose, and 47.2 per cent are fully vaccinated.
Australia reached 75.4 per cent having received their first jab, and 51 per cent being fully vaccinated.
South Australia will allow essential travellers into the state from Victoria, NSW and ACT on October 11.
Those entering must have had at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine.
South Australia’s immunisation rates have been hampered by a lack of staff to administer doses in regional areas.
Grant Council in the state’s south-east has the country’s worst vaccination rates, with only 18 per cent having received a single dose and nine per cent fully vaccinated.
The council surrounds the Mount Gambier district, and local doctor Richard Try said his practice was working weekends and evenings to boost vaccination rates.
Health officials are calling for the premier to be honest about a ‘health system already in crisis’ as the reopening of borders will bring new cases to the region (pictured, Modbury Hospital in Adelaide)
Dr Try said supply was the not the issue, problem for his practice and many other South Australian medical practitioners was a lack of trained staff.
‘We need more people down here able to give the vaccine,’ he said.
Local officials are hoping that initiatives such as vaccine pop-ups and more vaccines available at chemists will boost the uptake.
Rural Doctors Association SA chairman Peter Rischbieth said that the state’s health workforce was already short, and now more nurses are needed to vaccinate residents.