South Australian authorities are looking again at mandating coronavirus vaccines for some high-risk groups but continue to rule out making the jab compulsory for all.
Chief Public Health Officer Nicola Spurrier says as more is known about how the vaccines stop people getting infected and passing the virus on to others, their importance in some circumstances has increased.
“We’re certainly looking at that. That would give a justification for mandating the vaccine for certain groups,” she said.
Professor Spurrier said some of those groups that could be included in a compulsory program were those working in quarantine hotels or the wider quarantine stream and those working in aged care.
But she said a population-wide mandate was not something that had ever been discussed.
“At the end of the day, we do need a choice,” Prof Spurrier said.
Health Minister Stephen Wade said it was important to maintain the commitment to the Australian people that the vaccine would be free and voluntary.
“We don’t want to get people’s backs up because we’re talking about a mandate to the general population,” he said.
“I appreciate that it is almost 18 months since this pandemic started but I’m very confident in the spirit of the South Australian people.
“They’re committed to doing what’s necessary to protect public health and they know how serious the challenge is.”
Mr Wade said despite some supply issues, he remained confident a high number of people would opt to get vaccinated.