The very first Queenslander in the State received a COVID-19 vaccination today at Gold Coast University Hospital, marking a crucial milestone in Queensland’s pandemic response.
Health Minister Yvette D’Ath said COVID-19 nurse Zoe Park from Gold Coast University Hospital would be one of thousands of highest priority people to receive the vaccine in the coming weeks.
“What an amazing turn around it is, when we look to where we are today compared to twelve months ago,” Ms D’Ath said.
“It is thanks to each and every Queenslander that we are in the position that we are in today.
“We are grateful, but our journey is far from over.
“Today is the first of five million steps on the road to recovery for our state, as we start the incredible mission to vaccinate every eligible Queenslander we can.” Minister D’Ath said Queensland’s strong health response to the pandemic had proven remarkably effective. “Now, the vaccines approved by the national regulator give us an additional weapon our fight against COVID,” she said. “In coming weeks and months, every Queenslander who wants to get vaccinated against COVID will get be able to access one of the vaccines at no cost. “We’re working closely with the Commonwealth on the staged national rollout, prioritising the most vulnerable for early vaccination.”
Gold Coast Hospital and Health Service Infectious Diseases Director Dr John Gerrard said it was an honour to kick off the largest coordinated vaccination effort the state had ever seen.
“What a momentous moment in history to be a part of,” Dr Gerrard said.
“Our health service has seen 230 COVID-19 positive patients since the start of the pandemic, surrounded by our incredible doctors and nurses.
“How fitting that the first vaccination in Queensland goes to one of those nurses, who has spent the last year caring for those on our COVID-19 wards.
“What an incredible turnaround it is today, to welcome the vaccine.”
Queensland Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young said it was a day she had been waiting for all year.
“I am very excited, but we still have much work to do,” Dr Young said.
“The most important thing everyone can do from here is get vaccinated. I know I will be ready and 100 per cent confident when it is my turn in the queue.”
Princess Alexandra and Cairns Hospitals are expected to come online as Pfizer vaccination locations on Wednesday and Friday this week.
In the coming months, the AstraZeneca vaccine will be distributed to Queensland by the Australian Government.
This will allow for a much broader distribution of vaccine, and more locations will come online, including more hospitals, GPs and pharmacies.