News Coronavirus South Australia to get first AstraZeneca virus vaccines
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South Australia to get first AstraZeneca virus vaccines

The first doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine arrived in Australia on Sunday. Photo: AAP
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South Australians will be the first in the nation to receive the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine.

Around 300,000 doses of the jab arrived in Australia on Sunday and Prime Minister Scott Morrison says they have been “batch-tested” and approved for use.

They are being distributed to the states, with SA to be the first on Friday.

AstraZeneca is the second COVID vaccine to be approved for use in Australia.

“What will follow that is, ultimately, the approval of the manufacturing process here in Australia for the AstraZeneca vaccine,” Mr Morrison told reporters in the NSW Hunter region on Thursday.

“Which will launch the next very significant phase of the home-grown vaccination of Australians for COVID-19.”

It is understood the doses will be delivered to frontline health staff in the regional town of Murray Bridge, east of Adelaide.

Mr Morrison said the first overseas-manufactured doses of the jab would be followed by 50 million doses manufactured by Pharmaceutical giant CSL in Melbourne.

“We took the decision to have the sovereign capability to do that because we did not want to be, over the course of our vaccination program in Australia, overly reliant or dependent on supply chains from somewhere else,” the Prime Minister said.

“What will follow that is, ultimately, the approval of the manufacturing process here in Australia for the AstraZeneca vaccine, which will launch the next very significant phase of the home-grown vaccination of Australians for COVID-19.”

It comes as state and territory leaders finalise their agendas as they prepare to meet with Mr Morrison on Friday.

The meeting comes towards the end of the second week of the nation’s coronavirus vaccine rollout, which is going slower than promised in most areas across the country.

The federal government says it will ramp up in coming weeks.

But NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian is concerned that her government has been left in the dark on key aspects of the rollout, including which aged care homes in her state have had vaccinations.

She hasn’t been told how many residents have been vaccinated.

“It would help us enormously if we knew which aged-care facilities had received the vaccine,” Ms Berejiklian told reporters in Sydney on Wednesday.

The NSW government also wasn’t given prior warning to a federal announcement about Defence personnel helping the aged care vaccine rollout from next week.

NSW authorities are concerned that elderly residents may be stressed about when they will receive the vaccine.

Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt last week conceded a company responsible for the federal government’s portion of the rollout was alerting people late at night their jabs would be delayed, after it bungled doses in the first week.

Two elderly residents at a Brisbane aged-care home were given about four times the intended dose, by a doctor who had not completed mandatory vaccine training.

The elderly pair have not shown signs of an adverse reaction.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk was furious, calling on the federal government to provide more details on the aged care vaccine rollout.

The Sunshine State is also annoyed at federal authorities over plans for a regional COVID-19 quarantine camp.

The Wagner Group wants to build a facility, which would host up to 1000 travellers and 300 staff, at Wellcamp Airport near Toowoomba.

The federal government is refusing to support it without detailed information, and the Queensland government says it’s unable to provide more detailed information without in-principle support.

Two people have tested positive for the Russian strain of COVID-19 in Brisbane quarantine hotels, with another 75 guests now being tested for the virus.

The Victorian government has extended its emergency powers for another nine months, insisting it will be the last time.

The powers provide the legal framework for public health measures during the pandemic, such as hotel quarantine, home isolation, mask-wearing and the state’s travel permit system.

-with AAP