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Australia’s first AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine jab given to SA doctor

Published: (Updated: ) in Australian News by .

Frontline health worker Dr Caroline Phegan has become the first person in Australia to receive the COVID-19 AstraZeneca vaccine.

Frontline health worker Dr Caroline Phegan has become the first person in Australia to receive the COVID-19 AstraZeneca vaccine.

Australia reached its second vaccine milestone this morning with the rollout of the new vaccine beginning in South Australia.

The community of Murray Bridge will lead the nation in the rollout with 1000 doses arriving yesterday.

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Dr Phegan said she feels "privileged" to be the first person in the country to receive the jab.

"I'm a GP consultant who works in the emergency department, I often roll up my sleeves to help out when they need a hand and I think it's really important to be a part of of the rollout and the solution to the COVID-19 pandemic," she said.

"I hope I reassure people it's a safe vaccine ... I'm actually immunocompromised myself and I'm really excited abut it.

"I feel its really important to receive this vaccine and have that protection not only for myself, for my works but for the people we serve which is the public."

Premier Steven Marshall said it was a "historic day".

"We know this a very important program for our nation and we are super pleased in South Australia to be the first place in the nation," Mr Marshall said.

The vaccine will be administered to 90 frontline health and emergency workers.

"It's a feeling of excitement and relief that it's finally here, that we're prepared, we've got our staff trained, we're ready to go," hospital director of midwifery and nursing Sharon Harrison said.

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The move comes as a shipment of 250,000 AstraZeneca vaccines destined for Australia was blocked from leaving the European Union in the first use of an export control system instituted by the bloc to make sure big pharma companies would respect their contracts.

An estimated 50 million doses of the vaccine are set to be manufactured on home soil from the CSL factory in Melbourne.

Unlike the Pfizer vaccine, the AstraZeneca shot does not need to be kept in special freezers, meaning it is easier to transport to regional centres.

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Mr Marshall said the AstraZeneca vaccine will be important for communities outside metro areas given its ability to be stored at refrigerator temperatures.

"That's particularly great for regional Australia and it's particularly great for regional South Australia because we're a very large state and we need to get those vaccines out to very remotes place and the AstraZeneca vaccine gives us the opportunity to do that far more quickly."

Western Australia is second in line, with other states following next week.

Most Australians are expected to receive the AstraZeneca vaccine, which needs two doses administered 12 weeks apart.

Mr Morrison said Australia is one of the few countries in the world capable of replicating and manufacturing COVID-19 vaccines on local soil.

"We took the decision to have the sovereign capability to do that because we did not want to be overly reliant or dependent on supply chains from somewhere else," he said.

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AstraZeneca is the second COVID-19 vaccine to be given the green light in Australia, after the Pfizer vaccine.

Here is a full explainer on Australia's vaccine rolloutincluding when you'll be able to receive it.

Source: 9News

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