Grant District seeks vaccine rate credibility investigation

Labelled as having one of the nation’s lowest vaccination rates has Grant District Council seeking an investigation into the figures’ credibility.  

Mayor Richard Sage is hoping additional information will be released which could identify a more accurate figure for the council area.

Chief Public Health Officer Nicola Spurrier has informed the public SA Health are investigating the reportedly low rates.

According to recent figures, 76% of the Mount Gambier community had received a first vaccination.

However, Mayor Sage said the vaccination rates in the Grant district could be artificially low due to residents registering their address as a Mount Gambier post box.

“Further investigations will be undertaken to determine this and will be reported to the public,” Mayor Sage said.

The Grant council supports the State and Federal Governments message and continues to encourage residents to roll up their sleeves and be vaccinated.

“We wish to further encourage the community if they have not already received their vaccinations, please go and get your jab,” Mayor Sage said.

“But if you do have concerns and want further advice, please talk to your medical practitioner.”

Mayor Sage reminded the community the Port MacDonnell Pharmacy is offering vaccinations for both Moderna and Astrazeneca.

“The pharmacy is also providing an outreach service to our townships with bookings of eight or more people.

“I strongly encourage people to schedule an appointment.”

At council’s recent meeting Councillor Shirley Little questioned the figures which had received nationwide publicity.

“I would like to know if or does the council know where the information has come from to come up with these figures,” she said.

Cr Little said she did not believe the figures were a true reflection of the region’s vaccination rates.

“I would like to point out if it is anything to do with Medicare details and postcodes on them, my postcode is 5277, so is Nangwarry and so is Penola. Along with my husband, we would be counted in Wattle Range,” she said.

Cr Little suggested the councillors lead by example and have the vaccination.

Some councillors openly revealed they had been vaccinated while others had booked in for their first vaccination.

Meanwhile, Cr Gavin Clarke said although he was pro-vaccination, did not want to disclose whether he had or was yet to receive the vaccination.

“As much as I support vaccinations, I deeply support people’s choice and their right to privacy,” he said.

Cr Kylie Boston said she had her first vaccination, as recent as the day before the council meeting.

“I got my first jab (and) I asked the lady at the desk if she wanted residential or postal address. She said she did not care. Medicare has both,” she said.

Cr Boston said it had not been an easy process to book an appointment online, stating she would check daily for openings.

“It has not been an easy process to get in. I do not know how we can make it easier for people,” she said.

Chief executive Darryl Whicker said he agreed with the statements and had strongly advocated that position to Member for Mount Gambier Troy Bell.

“I think it is both inappropriate and unfair for Grant District Council and this community to be labelled as an area with that type of vaccination rate without seeing the data behind it,” he said.

“I articulated we are a transient population. There are people with holiday homes and multiple homes, farmers that reside in Mount Gambier and people who have Mount Gambier post office boxes as well.

“I also said that it is a supply issue as well. Most people could not get in until December.”

Mr Whicker said walk-in clinics could be the solution, assuming this was the problem.

“I think it’s very inappropriate that we are labelled. It is grossly unfair it has tarnished our community. I am happy to take further advocacy through to the SA Premier,” he said.

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