South Australian rural city Murray Bridge receives regional Australia's first doses of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine

Murray Bridge will become the first town in regional Australia to roll out the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, with doses to be administered to frontline health workers from 9am on Friday morning, March 5.

Thursday's benchmark delivery of 1000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine was made to the Murray Bridge Soldiers' Memorial Hospital.

It coincided with Mount Gambier receiving a 130,000-dose capacity freezer to store the Pfizer vaccine.

Frontline and aged care workers and aged care residents at hospitals in Murray Bridge, Tailem Bend, Meningie, Mannum, Karoonda, Lameroo, and Pinnaroo will be the first to receive the inoculation.

Yet it is unknown when the vaccine will be made available to the community.

The hospital's director of nursing and midwifery Sharon Harrison said it had been the "most exciting morning".

"There's a cold chain process that we've had to follow all the way, and it's been securely placed, safely handled and in our fridge, which is closely monitored," she said.

"From there we've got our appointments tomorrow."

Appointments opened yesterday and half of the time slots have been filled.

"There's so much interest in the staff getting vaccinated - every day I get a phone call asking, 'When's it coming? Is it mandatory?'," Mrs Harrison said.

"I think everyone will be excited - it's the general conversation, you see it in the media every five minutes, but we're mindful that this phase of the vaccination is about staff, about aged care, and not about the community - although there are lots of plans for the community that are our next focus."

There will be five people in a room getting vaccinated at once, and they will be monitored for 15 minutes by staff.

A freezer to store the Pfizer vaccine will arrive in the Riverland on Tuesday, March 9, ready for vaccine rollout on Monday, March 15.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who confirmed AstraZeneca roll out in regional SA, said in a press conference said 300,000 doses of the vaccine have now been "batch-tested" and approved for use.

Health Minister Stephen Wade said the state remained on track to administer all 12,000 Pfizer doses in the first three weeks.

He had said this week that the AstraZeneca required less equipment for it to be stored at the same low temperatures as the Pfizer injection.

The minister highlighted how it would likely be used to vaccinate high-priority people in regional areas.

Patiently waiting in the wings are dedicated country SA vaccine hubs - Riverland General Hospital in Berri, Mount Gambier Hospital, Whyalla Hospital, Port Pirie Hospital and Port Augusta Hospital.

"... we have already provided over 2500 vaccinations to quarantine and border staff, as well as frontline healthcare workers in testing clinics and Emergency Departments and these staff will continue to receive the vaccine as a priority through Mount Gambier Hospital's hub," the minister said.


To date, 2682 COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in the state including 356 given on Wednesday.

The COVID-19 vaccine rollout throughout South Australia will be undertaken in line with the Commonwealth Government's Vaccine Roadmap.

Find out more about COVID-19 vaccinations at


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