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Vaccine rollout ramps up

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A shipment of 20,000 doses of the AstraZeneca COVID vaccine is set to arrive in Adelaide today as SA Health looks to accelerate phase 1A of the state’s vaccination rollout.

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The federal government allocated the doses from a shipment of 300,000 AstraZeneca vaccines that arrived in Australia over the weekend.

Health Minister Stephen Wade said the doses would primarily be sent to regional SA.

“We’re likely to be deploying them particularly in the country, and particularly amongst our ambulance service” Wade told reporters yesterday.

Wade also said the arrival has been given SA Health a “short timeframe” to activate vaccination clinics across the state, with the Women’s and Children’s Hospital vaccination hub in North Adelaide hub set to come online later this week.

“We will certainly continue to take a steady approach,” he said.

“We’re not going to establish clinics until we’re confident that we’ve got the team to deliver them safely.”

So far, SA Health has administered around 2000 vaccines to frontline health and quarantine workers – about half of the state’s initial allocation of 4000 Pfizer vaccines.

The state’s second batch of Pfizer doses arrived on Tuesday, with one more allocation of 4000 to be delivered next week.

The government aims to vaccinate 12,000 people by the end of next week.

Wade said it was “expected” that vaccination clinics would start off slow and ramp up gradually.

“The intention of the clinics was always to increase over time,” he said.

“They plan to make sure that they can test their systems as they establish them and ramp up in a steady way.”

South Australia recorded two new COVID-19 cases yesterday, two women in their 60s who are quarantining in a medi-hotel, although one is considered an old-infection.

It comes as defence personnel prepare to step in and add some firepower to the rollout of coronavirus vaccines across Australia.

The Australian Defence Force will from next week help administer the COVID-19 vaccine in aged care homes, with an emphasis placed on facilities in regional areas.

“They are very organised – we set our best expectations and they continue to beat them,” Health Minister Greg Hunt told the Nine Network on Tuesday.

Hunt remains confident all Australians can get at least a first dose of the vaccine by October, despite a slow start to the program.

Administered doses have fallen well short of the 60,000 target in the first week, but the government believes ground can be made up.

As of last night, nearly 42,000 Australians have had their first dose, including more than 13,000 aged care residents at 158 facilities.

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