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South Australians first in nation to get AstraZeneca jabs

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South Australia will tomorrow be the first state in the country to administer doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, after the Therapeutic Goods Administration gave the COVID jab its final tick of approval this morning.

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Murray Bridge will be the site of Australia’s first AstraZeneca vaccination, with SA Health aiming to roll out the newly imported vaccine to the state’s regions.

Around 1000 doses of the vaccine arrived at the Murray Bridge Soldiers Memorial Hospital this morning, with the town’s frontline health workers first in line to get the jab.

It comes after a shipment of 20,000 AstraZeneca doses arrived in SA on Wednesday, allocated by the federal government from a batch of 300,000 vaccines that arrived in Sydney over the weekend.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison confirmed this morning the TGA has completed its batch testing of the shipment, paving the way for SA to launch the next stage of the country’s vaccination program.

“I understand that the first of those vaccines will be administered in South Australia tomorrow – that’s welcome news,” Morrison said.

“[This is] the next phase of the receipt of those vaccines that we were able to secure from overseas, supporting the first phase of this rollout across country.”

Morrison said the next stage of the vaccine rollout is for the TGA to approve the manufacturing process for 50 million AstraZeneca doses to be made in Melbourne.

Health Minister Stephen Wade said the delivery of the AstraZeneca jabs to Murray Bridge formed part of the government’s commitment to vaccinate the regions.

“South Australia’s COVID-19 response to the pandemic has been world-leading and tomorrow we will mark another milestone administering the nation’s first Astra-Zeneca vaccine in Murray Bridge,” Wade said.

“The Marshall Liberal Government is committed to getting these vaccinations to our regions, and all South Australians as quickly as we safely can.”

The Murray Bridge hospital is the second SA vaccination hub to come online this week after the Women’s and Children’s Hospital in North Adelaide.

More regional hubs are expected to open in the coming months, including the Riverland General Hospital in Berri, Mount Gambier Hospital, Whyalla Hospital, Port Pirie Hospital and Port Augusta Hospital.

SA Health has already administered nearly 2700 doses of the Pfizer vaccine, and aims to have 12,000 frontline healthcare and quarantine workers vaccinated by the end of next week.

The state’s final shipment of 4000 Pfizer doses is expected to arrive early next week.

SA Health administered 356 Pfizer vaccines on Wednesday, with an average of 277 vaccines administered each day over the last week.

Wade said it was “expected” the state’s vaccination clinics would start off slow and ramp up gradually.

“The intention of the clinics was always to increase over time,” he told reporters on Tuesday.

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

Wade also today acknowledged there will be “road bumps” in the state’s rollout, but the government remains committed to offering a vaccine to all South Australian before the end of the year.

South Australia recorded no new COVID-19 cases today from a total of 2791 tests.

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