Three Murraylands Local Government Areas polling low on vaccination numbers

Murray Bridge bakery, Pies 4 U owner, Gloria Butler said it'll be good to have more business flow through, but she is worried about COVID being spread.
Murray Bridge bakery, Pies 4 U owner, Gloria Butler said it'll be good to have more business flow through, but she is worried about COVID being spread.

With South Australia re-opening its borders to interstate travel, three Murraylands council regions are still in the five lowest council areas for double vaccination.

Mid Murray Council, Karoonda East Murray Bridge and Rural City of Murray Bridge are all in the mid 60% mark for double vaccinations.

  • Mid Murray Council - 63.5%
  • Karoonda East Murray Council - 65%
  • Rural City of Murray Bridge - 66.4%

SA Health have stated that quarantine will apply to Local Government Areas (LGA) with community transmission and less than 80% of the population fully vaccinated.

This has sparked concern within the community and local businesses.

Murray Bridge bakery, Pies 4 U owner, Gloria Butler said it'll be good to have more business flow through, but she is worried about COVID being spread.

"It's a real worry with Murray Bridge having low vaccination rates," Ms Butler said.

"I'd be happy with a few more interstate numbers popping in for business, but health wise I'd rather the state be closed for a bit longer.

"The week before Christmas to allow families to see one another would be ideal, but we have to open the state up sooner or later. It is a bit scary."

Owner and operator of Murray Bridge Hotel, Karen Milesi is nervous about the state's border opening. Photo: Matt Welch.

Owner and operator of Murray Bridge Hotel, Karen Milesi is nervous about the state's border opening. Photo: Matt Welch.

Owner and operator ofMurray Bridge Hotel, Karen Milesi said nerves are high for the establishment and its staff.

"It's a little nerve-wracking from a business perspective," Ms Milesi said.

"I am concerned about vaccinated, unvaccinated, checking in and the potential for me to be closed up to 14 days.

"You never know who's going to walk in. Murray Bridge is one of the lowest vaccinated LGA's and that makes me a little more fearful that we're at greater risk.

"I'm very much a local pub that services the community and I'm probably more nervous this time around than last year. This is a real unknown."

Rural City of Murray Bridge Mayor, Brenton Lewis said the council have started a program to boost awareness, but it's disappointing for the town to be at such a low vaccination rate.

"We're hoping to receive a grant that will help promote this program," Mayor Lewis said.

"We will do whatever it takes through our communication channels to spread awareness of the situation.

"I really am disappointed that Murray Bridge is sitting at around 66% double vaccinated. Considering we were the first rural resource site I believe in Australia, that was a really proud moment.

"I'm disappointed that we haven't done that justice. Any lockdown will be a real clamp on the local economy.

"We've been extremely lucky in SA avoiding lockdowns. Coming into Christmas and the festive season, the word lockdown gives me a shiver.

"My plea to our community is, please get vaccinated."

Mid Murray Council Mayor, David Burgess said council were actively working with SA Government agencies to increase access to vaccinations within the region.

"While council does not manage the vaccination roll-out, we are taking a proactive role in working with SA health authorities to encourage them to provide access to COVID-19 vaccines in areas across our district where there has been a lower uptake," Mayor Burgess said.

"There are many reasons why this rate may be low, and we know that factors including limited transport and issues around accessibility have prevented some in our community from being able to reach vaccination clinics outside of their hometowns.

"The pop-up clinics run over the November 21 weekend at Walker Flat and Blanchetown were well received with a strong vaccine uptake, and our staff are working closely with authorities to investigate when and where we may be able to run similar walk-in clinics in other areas of need within our region. We will share these details as soon as any future clinics are confirmed.

"Vaccination remains a highly-effective method of reducing the severity of symptoms of the disease, and is an important step in protecting the vulnerable in our community.

"In addition to assisting with supporting the vaccine roll-out where we can, council is also implementing its own measures to protect the health and safety of staff and the wider community, including encouraging people to conduct their non-urgent council business over the phone or online where possible to reduce the need for face-to-face interactions.

"As we have seen with past lockdowns throughout SA, any new lockdown or introduction of significant restrictions in response to a local COVID-19 outbreak would have a substantial impact on our economy.

"The summer holiday period is traditionally a busy time for Mid Murray, and many of our tourism, hospitality and retail businesses rely on this increase in trade.

"A local outbreak has the potential to seriously disrupt our economy, so it's important we all play our role in minimising the risk of the virus spreading by observing social distancing, wearing masks as required, using the check-in system, reducing unnecessary face-to-face contact and getting vaccinated.

"Our region is also incredibly popular with tourists and holiday home owners who enjoy spending time here over the summer. While we're still welcoming visitors to our region, we do encourage anyone who is unwell or who has visited a known COVID-19 hot spot to delay their stay with us.

"As a regional area, we do have limited access to medical care, especially emergency emergency health services, which may struggle to meet an increase in demand in the event of a local outbreak."

I really am disappointed that Murray Bridge is sitting at around 66% double vaccinated.

Brenton Lewis.

District Council of Karoonda East Murray Mayor, Caroline Phillips said she is happy with the efforts and how proactive the council has been in helping to increase the vaccine rates in the district.

Murraylands community members, Glen Lievelt and Sue Croser were hesitant on the borders opening and thought a later date would be a better solution.

"I don't want them opened at this stage," Mr Lievelt said.

"If they waited till around Christmas time that would be better. Just to make sure"

"I'm very weary of the border re-opening," Ms Croser said.

"I don't think they should be opened just yet and I think after Christmas would have been better. There will be people from all around, not wearing their masks, not checking in, I don't think it's a good idea."

A SA Health spokesperson said that high and increasing rates of vaccination in South Australia greatly reduce any risk of needing a statewide lockdown.

"Over the coming months, we will still rely on various public health measures to keep the community safe, including public activity restrictions, testing, contact tracing, isolation and quarantine," The spokesperson said.

"As more South Australians get vaccinated, this will provide increased protection for our communities which will mean fewer measures will be needed.

"If we do see a rise in cases in the community, we will reassess the situation to assess what measures are required to keep our communities safe and to assist our health services."

To book your COVID jabs please head to www.covid-vaccine.healthdirect.gov.au/eligibility?lang=en

Subscribe to the FREE Murray Valley Standard newsletter which will be delivered to your inbox every Monday, at 12.30pm.

Comments

Discuss "Community and councils on alert with Murraylands low vaccination numbers"

Please note: All comments made or shown here are bound by the Online Discussion Terms & Conditions.