At the vanguard of the national vaccination program, Australia’s first AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines are being administered to regional frontline healthcare workers at Murray Bridge Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital today.
Premier Steven Marshall said more than 40 frontline staff from the Riverland Mallee Coorong Local Health Network are expected to receive the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine on the first day they are rolled out in Australia.
“South Australia’s COVID-19 response to the pandemic has been world-leading and today we will mark another milestone administering the nation’s first Astra Zeneca vaccine in Murray Bridge,” Premier Marshall said.
“Barely 36 hours after the vaccines’ arrived in South Australia, our public health team have safely transported 1000 doses, brought this regional clinic online, and are ready to begin vaccinating our frontline staff.”
“We have taken our State’s biggest ever peacetime operation to the next stage and are determined to provide the opportunity for every South Australian to be vaccinated by the end of the year.”
Minister for Health and Wellbeing Stephen Wade said the expansion of the COVID-19 vaccination rollout to regional areas was an important step towards protecting the whole of South Australia.
“Starting vaccinations in Murray Bridge today is the next step in the vital vaccine roll out, reaching more of our regional based healthcare and quarantine and border workers, as the program broadens to include more priority groups and eventually, all South Australians,” Minister Wade said.
“In line with the Commonwealth Government’s Phase 1a, SA Health clinics have already provided more than 2,600 doses to medi-hotel and airport staff, and frontline healthcare workers, including workers at testing clinics and Emergency Departments.”
More vaccine hubs at the Riverland General Hospital in Berri, Mount Gambier Hospital, Whyalla Hospital, Port Pirie Hospital and Port Augusta Hospital are expected to come online as the program continues while vaccine clinics will be established throughout the state during each phase of the rollout.
Riverland Mallee Coorong Local Health Network Executive Director of Medical Services, Dr Caroline Phegan, said receiving the vaccination was particularly important for a child healthcare worker.
“I am excited to roll-up my sleeve today to receive my COVID-19 vaccination alongside my fellow Emergency Department and frontline healthcare workers from across the Riverland Mallee Coorong Local Health Network,” Dr Phegan said.
“I know how important it is to vaccinate against a disease like COVID-19 and the rollout of this vaccine is just another way we as healthcare workers can protect ourselves, our loved ones and those most vulnerable to COVID-19.
“As a doctor working in regional hospitals, you need to be prepared for anything. We have had suspected COVID-19 cases come through our Emergency Department here in Murray Bridge, and it’s just so important that we are vaccinated to prevent any potential spread among the local community.
“I’m proud the rollout is now underway at our hospital and know our staff are looking forward to playing their part in getting this safe and effective vaccine out to their peers and the wider community as we move through each phase of the rollout.”
The COVID-19 vaccine rollout across South Australia will be undertaken in line with the Commonwealth Government’s Vaccine Roadmap.
Find out more about COVID-19 vaccinations at www.covid-19.sa.gov.au.