SA looks to lead on vaccine take-up rate

·2-min read

South Australia will bid to have the highest COVID-19 vaccination rate in the country as its rollout continues for frontline workers and the vulnerable.

SA began administering the Pfizer vaccine on Monday with 150 people receiving the jab at Royal Adelaide Hospital and another 50 at Flinders Medical Centre.

Tuesday will see about the same number of vaccinations with the first residents at aged care facilities in Adelaide given their initial dose.

Premier Steven Marshall said a high take-up rate among the general population was an "excellent aspiration".

"I would love South Australia to have the highest vaccination rate in the nation," he said.

"I know that we have done extraordinarily well in terms of testing; our tracing is great, our uptake of the QR codes has been absolutely superb and we're very grateful for that.

"Now we would love to see the best uptake of vaccinations anywhere in the country."

SA has received 4000 doses, with 3000 to be distributed from RAH and 1000 from Flinders Medical Centre.

Another 8000 doses are expected to arrive within the next three weeks.

The state's 1700 frontline workers will be targeted first, including 500 staff at Adelaide Airport, more than 1000 people who work in Adelaide's quarantine hotels and 50 involved in transferring arrivals.

At Flinders Medical Centre, staff in the emergency department, respiratory ward, intensive critical care unit and COVID-19 testing clinic will be prioritised.

Health Minister Stephen Wade said providing the vaccine to everyone in SA would be a challenge considering the size of the state and diversity of the population.

"We appreciate that for many communities that we will need to to reach out to them that that is particularly what we're doing with frontline health workers," he said.

"We will also need to do it with some subgroups, for example, homeless people.

"There'll be culturally and linguistically diverse communities that will need special effort.

"But this is a huge effort, the largest peacetime operation in South Australia."

He acknowledged there would be road bumps but said an army of people would make sure everyone had the opportunity to get the vaccine.

SA also remains poised to lift its remaining COVID-19 travel restrictions with Melbourne from Friday morning.

Mr Marshall said final information was being gathered in regard to the type of testing regime that might remain but that was expected in the next 24 hours.

Under existing arrangements, people coming from Greater Melbourne are not permitted to enter SA.

Exemptions are provided to returning local residents, people relocating permanently and essential travellers.

SA reported two new virus cases on Tuesday, a woman in her 60s and a man in his 50s, both recently returned from overseas.

They are among four active cases in hotel quarantine.