COVID-19 vaccine roll-out will soon begin in the Murraylands

Murray Bridge's hospital will not be a vaccination site at first, but local health workers, aged and disability carers and nursing home residents will get the jab within weeks.

As COVID-19 vaccines are made available in South Australia for the first time, some of the Murraylands’ most important workers will be at the front of the queue.

Front-line health care workers, likely including staff at the south side respiratory clinic in Murray Bridge, will be among the first to receive the Pfizer vaccine this month.

Also included in phase 1A of a national roll-out plan are aged and disability carers, plus anyone living in a residential care facility.

Murray Bridge was left off a list of the first sites in SA where vaccines will be made available.

Instead, batches of the vaccine will be collected from Adelaide so that all consenting residents at nursing homes – for example – can receive their first jabs on the same day, according to the national roll-out strategy.

On Friday, state Health and Wellbeing Minister Stephen Wade announced that nine hospitals would serve as hubs for the first vaccinations.

The Royal Adelaide will be first, followed by Flinders, Lyell McEwin and the Women’s and Children’s in Adelaide, plus the hospitals at Berri, Mount Gambier, Whyalla, Port Pirie and Port Augusta.

Extra sites will be added for future phases of the national vaccination program:

  • Phase 1B: other health care workers, people aged 70-plus, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 55-plus, adults with underlying medical conditions, defence forces, emergency services, meat processing workers (14.8 million doses)

  • Phase 2A: people aged 50-plus, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 18-plus, other at-risk workers (15.8 million doses)

  • Phase 2B: people aged 18-plus (16 million doses)

An extra phase will be added for people under the age of 18 if medical authorities recommend it.

“We are about to embark on the state’s biggest ever peacetime operation,” Mr Wade said.

“Given the scale and complexity of the operation in front of us, we know that there will be road bumps, but we are determined to ensure the safe, efficient and timely delivery of vaccines in a prioritised manner.”

The first people to get the vaccine would be those most vulnerable to the effects of COVID-19, he said, or those most likely to be exposed to it or spread it.

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