Supply issues may delay COVID-19 vaccine roll-out in Murray Bridge

Thousands of Murraylands residents will become eligible to receive a vaccination from Monday, but there are not yet enough doses for them all.

Caroline Phegan becomes the first person in Murray Bridge to receive a COVID-19 vaccine on March 5, from Paul Worley. Photo: Adrian Pederick.

Thousands of locals will become eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine from Monday, but a Murray Bridge doctor says there aren’t enough doses for everyone yet.

Murray Bridge Respiratory Clinic’s Dr Peter Rischbieth says supply issues are likely to delay the phase 1B roll-out of the vaccine, announced by the federal government on Wednesday.

The government had urged eligible people to book appointments to receive the vaccine as soon as they could.

Those eligible during phase 1B include:

  • Anyone aged 70 and over

  • Indigenous people aged 55 and over

  • Workers in essential occupations, including emergency services, health care, meat processing and the Australian Defence Force

  • Adults with underlying medical conditions

But as of Thursday morning, Dr Rischbieth said the clinic on Homburg Drive – the first in the Murraylands to receive the vaccine – only had enough doses for half a day of appointments.

The online booking system was not working correctly yet, either, he said, and clinic staff were booking appointments manually.

“Practices are under a lot of pressure,” he said.

“We’re hoping to do more (appointments), but we’ve got to be sure we’ve got the supplies.”

More GP clinics and pharmacies are likely to become involved in the vaccination program over the coming weeks as the availability of the AstraZenaca vaccine increases.

In time, federal Health and Aged Care Minister Greg Hunt said on Wednesday, all Australians who wanted a vaccine would be able to be vaccinated.

High-risk health and aged care workers became the first people in the Murraylands to receive the vaccine a fortnight ago.

SA Health advises continued vigilance

All South Australians who have symptoms of COVID-19 should get tested on the day their symptoms appear.

Symptoms may include:

  • Fever or chills, in the absence of an alternative illness

  • An acute respiratory infection: cough, sore throat, runny nose or shortness of breath

  • Loss of smell or alteration in the sense of taste

  • Diarrhoea and vomiting

As well as the Murray Bridge Respiratory Clinic, COVID-19 testing is also available at the roadside clinic on the Princes Highway at Tailem Bend, next to the Caltex roadhouse.

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