Two people with COVID-19 have died in South Australia as the state government launches an initiative to increase childhood immunization coverage.
- A man and woman in their 70s have died after contracting COVID-19
- Vaccination centers at elementary schools will start next Friday
- Nine children in SA have developed a rare but potentially life-threatening condition linked to COVID-19, according to Professor Nicola Spurrier
SA Health today reported 3,392 new COVID-19 cases, the lowest number since last Monday, after a spike in numbers over the past week.
The two dead were a man and a woman, both in their 70s.
3,796 new cases were reported yesterday, down from 3,816 on Saturday.
There are currently 248 people hospitalized with COVID-19, including seven people in intensive care.
vaccination centers in elementary schools
Forty schools in Adelaide and regional South Australia are being used as immunization centers to increase low immunization coverage among children aged five to 11.
Classrooms in the schools will be used for the clinics on four consecutive Fridays and Saturdays from May 27th.
The hubs are repeated for second doses in another nine weeks.
Thirty of the schools are in Adelaide, ten in regional areas and six non-government schools.
So far, only 59 percent of South African children aged five to 11 have received at least their first dose of vaccine, compared with 96 percent of the state’s population aged 12 and over.
Education Secretary Blair Boyer said the schools were chosen because they are “located in an area of local government where there is a lower vaccination rate than we would like”.
“That’s the information we used as the basis for selecting all 40 sites, including 10 regional and six non-governmental organizations,” Mr Boyer said.
However, some of the schools selected – such as primary schools in Glenelg, Brighton, Magill, Berri, Risdon Park and Greenwith – are in community areas with a 16+ vaccination rate above 95 per cent.
Chief Public Health Officer Nicola Spurrier welcomed the initiative, which she said is particularly important to protect children who have COVID-19 and also have other health conditions such as asthma, heart disease or epilepsy.
On May 28th there will be a community vaccination day with free public transport to the hubs.
Clinics are set up in community offices in Salisbury, Campbelltown, Playford, Tea Tree Gully, Port Adelaide Enfield, West Torrens, Port Pirie, the Adelaide Plains and the Barossa Valley.
Clinics are also held at the Australian Red Cross in Adelaide CBD, Port Augusta, Whyalla, Port Lincoln, Berri and Port Pirie.
Concern about the syndrome in children
Professor Spurrier said nine out of 96 children across Australia had developed pediatric multisystem inflammatory syndrome (PIMS-TS) in South Australia since the pandemic began.
PIMS-TS can occur in children two to six weeks after contracting COVID-19.
The rare but potentially life-threatening condition has symptoms such as fever, abdominal pain, and rash, and can mimic symptoms of acute appendicitis.
‘Vaccination prevents that too,’ Professor Spurrier said.
Naomi Dallenogare’s children Mila and Harvey were among the first children under 12 to get their vaccination in January.
She said the hub was a good idea, although there had been little disruption at Marryatville Primary School, where her children attended.
“Anything we can do to be more accessible and give people the opportunity to get vaccinated is incredibly important,” she said.
The education secretary said 5,620 South Australian students contracted COVID-19 in their first term, along with 847 staff.
As of Friday, a total of 3,173 had tested positive for the virus in the second half, he said, along with 589 employees.
Mr Boyer said a decision on whether to lift mask requirements in high schools would be made at the start of week five, May 30.
“I hope that the numbers remain stable and that we may be able to remove the masks at the end of the four-week deadline, but we will make a decision closer to that date,” he said.