The Marshall Liberal Government will invest more than $86 million in the upcoming State Budget to fast track the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine to more South Australians.
The announcement comes as South Australia opens up vaccinations to all 40-49 year olds, while also extending access to the Pfizer vaccine to all disability workers and the arrival of the vaccine in Kangaroo Island for anyone aged 16 years or older.
Premier Steven Marshall said giving every South Australian access to the vaccine was a key priority for the Government, and the State Budget investment would ensure the South Australian rollout would continue to be agile and able to pivot where needed to maximise the rollout.
“My Government has a strong plan to protect South Australians from the health and economic impacts of COVID-19 and the vaccination program is our doorway out of the pandemic, so we want to ensure that every single South Australian has access to it as soon as safely possible,” said Premier Marshall.
“This $86 million investment will mean SA Health will have the resources they need to be able to pivot where required to get this vital vaccine into the arms of South Australians.
“Today’s announcement that we are rolling out to all 40-49 year olds and disability workers builds on recent access provided for regional South Australians and Residential Aged Care Facility workers.
“South Australia’s health and economic response to the pandemic has led the world, and we will continue to scale up the state’s vaccine rollout in a way that maximises our vaccine supplies, protects South Australians and aligns with the latest health advice.”
The $86 million investment is an estimate based on the state’s original agreement with the Commonwealth that SA would deliver around 40 per cent of the vaccinations. However, if SA ultimately ends up vaccinating a greater proportion of the eligible population, then the costs will be higher again.
Minister for Health and Wellbeing Stephen Wade said mass vaccination clinics were delivering strong numbers of doses to South Australians and this investment will support the roll out even further.
“Our mass vaccination clinics at Elizabeth, Noarlunga and Wayville have already delivered more than 34,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine into the arms of South Australians,” said Minister Wade.
“While the majority of South Australians will receive their vaccination through their GP, we continue to support the rollout through state-run sites and mass vaccination clinics to ensure that we are maximising the state’s supply of the vaccine.
“With the opening of the vaccination program to 40-49 year olds, this is a chance for many more South Australians to step up and get vaccinated. While we encourage everyone who is eligible to roll up their sleeve, we also ask people to be patient if, in the first instance, they are unable to secure a booking at their time or location of preference.
“This investment will help us to continue to be agile in our rollout, as we have done in extending access to the Pfizer vaccine to both aged care and disability workers, and we will continue to follow the advice of the health experts to ensure every South Australian has access to the vaccine.”
Professor Nicola Spurrier, Chief Public Health Officer, welcomed the expansion of the vaccination program.
“The more people who get vaccinated, the safer our community will be,” said Professor Spurrier.
“National Cabinet has expanded the vaccination program and I encourage everyone within the newly eligible cohorts to get vaccinated as soon as they can.
“We’ve seen a big uptake in the number of people getting vaccinated in Victoria since their outbreak began. To avoid the queues and the same thing happening here, I would encourage everyone who is eligible to book in now.
“The sooner you roll up to get vaccinated, the sooner you and your loved ones will be protected.
“Now everyone aged 40 to 49, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 16 to 49 years, NDIS participants aged 16 years and over as well as their carers of any age can receive their vaccinations.
“In addition, we are ensuring frontline disability workers who work face-to-face with clients and are yet to be vaccinated can now receive the Pfizer vaccination, regardless of age.
“The sooner we protect our most vulnerable, the better.”
The mass vaccination clinics at Wayville, Elizabeth and Noarlunga will open late this Thursday to offer vaccinations specifically to Residential Aged Care Facility workers. There will be around 600 appointments available, including some available by walk-in.