Operation COVID Shield Begins

In an historic day for all South Australians, frontline COVID-19 workers will today begin rolling up their sleeves to receive the COVID-19 vaccine as the first doses are administered at the Royal Adelaide Hospital and Flinders Medical Centre.

Premier of South Australia, Steven Marshall, said the vaccine rollout would be absolutely vital in keeping South Australians safe and our economy strong.

“We are about to embark on the State’s biggest ever peacetime operation,” Premier Marshall said.

“We are determined to ensure the safe, efficient and timely delivery of vaccines in a prioritised manner over the course of 2021.

“I want to assure South Australians that the vaccine is completely safe, and has been approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration.”

Minister for Health and Wellbeing Stephen Wade said South Australia’s rollout is now underway following the arrival of the first doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccination from the Commonwealth Government.

“Eleven months ago, the Marshall Liberal Government declared a major emergency in the state of South Australia,” Minister Wade said.

“Since that day, we have seen the very best of what makes us proud to be South Australians. We have remained stoic, defiant and unified as this insidious disease has threatened to break out – and we have defeated it every time.

“Our hard work in the lead-up to receiving the vaccine means that, on the very next day after receiving our first tranche of vaccine, we can start vaccinating those who have the highest risk of being exposed to the virus..”

Today, quarantine and border workers will be the first to roll up their sleeves to be vaccinated at the Royal Adelaide Hospital – meaning they will have even more protection against contracting COVID-19 while they undertake their important work in our medi-hotels.

Although there is never zero risk, this will also likely help reduce any future spread from these quarantine facilities.

“With the 4000 doses we have received so far we aim to vaccinate more than 1700 frontline workers, including more than 500 staff from Adelaide Airport, more than 1000 medi-hotel staff, more than 50 medi-hotel transfer staff and more than 70 airport SAPOL Red Zone staff.”

In addition to vaccinations starting at the Royal Adelaide Hospital hub, Flinders Medical Centre will also start administering the vaccines from today.

Staff from Flinders and Noarlunga Hospital emergency department, respiratory ward, Intensive Critical Care Unit and the COVID-19 testing clinic will be prioritised.

“In addition to healthcare and quarantine workers, we want to ensure every older South Australian has early access to the vaccine. The Commonwealth will be vaccinating in Aged Care Facilities in parallel with our statewide efforts”, Minister Wade said.

“We expect to receive 8,000 more doses from the Commonwealth Government over the next three weeks to vaccinate 12,000 people.

“More clinics will be established across the state to prioritise vaccinating those who are most vulnerable to the effects of COVID-19 and further clinics will continue to come online throughout each phase of the rollout to get supplies of the vaccination across the State, making sure no one misses out.”

Chief Public Health Officer, Professor Nicola Spurrier said the State Government was making sure every South Australian who would like to be vaccinated against COVID-19 will have access to vaccines through the carefully planned stages of the rollout.

“We know just how important it is to get South Australians vaccinated against COVID-19 and that is why we are supporting the Commonwealth Government to make sure every single person in our state will have access to the vaccine,” Professor Spurrier said.

“The TGA has now assessed both the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines to be safe and effective for all people 18 years and older and both will prevent serious illness from COVID-19.

“While you may be wondering whether or not you really need the vaccine, particularly if you’re young, fit and healthy, COVID-19 can be a nasty and potentially fatal disease at any age.

“The safe and effective vaccines will enable us to take the COVID-19 fight to another level – they will be a game changer in our response and will increase our confidence as we review restrictions and border closures. However, it will still be important that we all remember to continue to be COVID safe by getting tested and isolating if we have symptoms, practising good hygiene, physical distancing and using the Safe Check-In QR codes when you are out and about.”

The COVID-19 vaccine rollout across South Australia will be undertaken in line with the Commonwealth Government’s Vaccine Roadmap.

Phase 1a of the rollout is now underway and will see frontline health care workers, quarantine and border workers, and residential aged care and disability staff and residents receive the COVID-19 vaccination, with all South Australians having access to the vaccine in future stages.

Find out more about COVID-19 vaccinations at www.covid-19.sa.gov.au.

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