Mayors of regional Tasmanian areas with low vaccination rates are urging their residents to get get the jab as COVID exposure sites begin to emerge "on their doorstep".
George Town, Circular Head and Kentish have the lowest second-dose rates in the state, and there are fears in the community that a COVID outbreak could prove devastating to not only the healthcare system, but local business.
Exposure sites initially confined to port cities Hobart, Launceston and Devonport pushed into regional and outer-regional areas including Kentish, Break O'Day, Latrobe, Meander Valley and Glamorgan Spring Bay.
George Town's second-dose vaccination rate according to the most recent data from December 19 was 84.2 per cent for the population aged 15 and above.
At the same time, the state's average second dose vaccination rate for the 16 and above population was 91.56 per cent.
George Town Council mayor Greg Keiser said he was comfortable with how the municipality's "medical community" was placed to deal with cases, but encouraged those who had put off getting vaccinations to go and get the jab.
The municipality had a first dose rate of 90 per cent, but Cr Keiser said there was a level of apathy towards the virus still existing in the community.
George Town had largely avoided any brush with COVID throughout the pandemic, but after exposure site listings in Mowbray and at Bridestowe Lavender Farm 44 minutes to the municipality's East, Cr Keiser said low vaccination rates were becoming an ever more pressing issue.
"If anyone hasn't started or completed the vaccine, they are exposing themselves, their family and their community," he said.
"Think about the bigger picture. It's not just about you. It's also about businesses and workplaces where there are people who rely on jobs and your actions are putting that situation in danger.
Now COVID is on our doorstep it is time to rethink decisions people have made that have led to them not being vaccinated.- George Town mayor Greg Keiser
Co-owner of George Town cafe and catering group T'N'T Fresh It Up, Selena Cossins, said if her business was listed as a close contact exposure site it would "devastate" them.
While all of Ms Cossins's staff were vaccinated, if the cafe was listed as being exposed, every staff present at the time of exposure would need to isolate for seven days.
"We've got four senior staff and four junior staff and that would break us," Ms Cossins said.
She said avoiding complacency about vaccinations, mask-wearing and checking in were the only things that could be done to avoid those hypotheticals from becoming a reality.
The Circular Head local government area holds the unwanted tag of being the least vaccinated place in the state. It overtook Kentish in recent weeks, and the second-dose rate is 82.2 per cent of the population aged 15 and above.
The municipality retained the pleasure of being relatively remote, and therefore far away from the spread of COVID.
But a recent close-contact exposure site listed about 100 kilometres away at Shearwater had Circular Head mayor Daryl Quilliam considering how the LGA would cope should a COVID outbreak occur.
With the closest hospital an hour away, a minimal regional healthcare workforce, and the nearest testing site about an hour away, Cr Quilliam said he was unsure how his seriously his community could be impacted by exposure to COVID.
"We can't make people get vaccinated, but complacency is definitely an issue," he said.
"Part of the problem is, people in outback or outlying areas tend to be a bit blase about this and probably don't think the mainland people are going to come here. But it's not going to just be mainland people, you've only got to get someone coming over from Shearwater and it's here."
READ MORE: Carols by Candlelight final figure counted
Cr Quilliam said the vaccinated portion of the community had started to become concerned about their fellow, unvaccinated, community members.
He said the municipality's remoteness would likely be an aggravating factor if an outbreak occurred.
"The issue is, at this stage, other than going to the doctor, if you're a close contact and you need to get tested you need to go into Burnie, and that's not always easy," he said.
"The remoteness has been part of the issue for getting vaccinated, and now the remoteness would make it worse if it did break out here."
What do you think? Send us a letter to the editor:
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content:
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.