Tuesday, 2 March 2021 HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY Page 4347/8
The Hon. G.G. BROCK (Frome) (15:14): To the minister, a supplementary: can you bring back the timetable for the whole of regional South Australia? The member for Mount Gambier had the question I was going to ask also, but can you do that for the whole of regional South Australia please?
Mr Knoll: This counts as one of the four. The SPEAKER: Order!
The Hon. S.S. MARSHALL (Dunstan—Premier) (15:15): I thank the member for his question regarding the vaccine rollout in South Australia. Professor Brendan Murphy, who was the Chief Medical Officer—he is now the department secretary for the commonwealth Department of Health—has described this exercise as the largest peacetime logistical exercise in the history of Australia, and I think he’s right. There is a combination—
The Hon. S.S. MARSHALL: Most people are quite interested in the vaccine rollout. This is— Members iinterjecting:
The SPEAKER: Order, members on my right!
The Hon. S.S. MARSHALL: —a massive logistical exercise for our country. A lot of thought has gone into, and continues to go into, this rollout. The commonwealth is of course responsible for the TGA approval for the vaccines, and so far we have the Pfizer vaccine and the AstraZeneca vaccine that are approved. They are also responsible for the procurement of those vaccines, and we have now seen the Pfizer vaccine arrive in Australia and the AstraZeneca.
In fact, we could be getting our shipments of the AstraZeneca vaccine later this week. That will really significantly reduce some of the complexity of the rollout of the vaccine because it doesn’t have the same cold chain logistics requirements of the Pfizer vaccine, which is problematic in regional South Australia because you need to keep that cold chain in place at minus 70°. The AstraZeneca, which is very similar to the existing types of vaccines and shots used right across regional South Australia, can be maintained at below 5°, which will make life a lot easier.
We are doing well in terms of the rollout of phase 1a, which is really those people who are on the frontline, people who are in a situation where they could definitely come into contact with somebody who has the disease. They are people in our medi-hotels, people in the airports and
people on the borders. Then of course we move in a graduated way through different risk categories, starting with older South Australians and people who have other pre-existing conditions that make them a priority for us.
We are going to be rolling this out for the remainder of the year. It is a combined effort, with the federal government responsible for aged-care facilities and disability facilities here in South Australia and then a joint responsibility in terms of the general vaccination, where we will be doing some within our hospitals and clinics and the federal government responsible for the vaccinations through the GP networks and also through pharmacies. The final detail of those arrangements is still being worked through.
There is a sort of co-commissioning arrangement between the federal government and the state government to make sure that we have good geographical coverage in South Australia. We don’t want to have just a single number but having them all concentrated around one area. This is a big logistical exercise and so details of that are being worked through at the moment. We have a national cabinet meeting again this Friday. I will of course be attending that and I am quite sure that,as we get to that meeting and then beyond that meeting, there will be far greater detail.
It is a big task. It’s a task that Nicola Spurrier, Chris McGowan and their team have been working on since last year. I know that we have all been very proud that in South Australia we have had amongst the highest testing rates in the world, and I’m quite sure that we will also ultimately have the best vaccination rates in the world as it rolls out.