Australia’s rollout of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine will begin on Friday, with the first doses to be administered in South Australia.

Key points:

  • The AstraZeneca jab is the second vaccine to be given the green light in Australia
  • Frontline health staff in Murray Bridge will receive the first doses
  • About 90 staff members are expected to receive the vaccine tomorrow

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said 300,000 doses of the vaccine, which arrived in Sydney on Sunday, have now been “batch-tested” and approved for use.

The first doses will be delivered to frontline health staff in the regional town of Murray Bridge, east of Adelaide.

AstraZeneca is the second COVID vaccine to be given the green light in Australia, after the Pfizer vaccine.

Mr Morrison said the first overseas-manufactured doses of the jab would be followed by 50 million doses made 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.”

A tray of AstraZeneca vaccines has arrived in Murray Bridge, where the first doses of the vaccine will be administered.(

Supplied: Sarah Mullins


The 3.8 million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine which arrived at the weekend had been stored in a facility in Western Sydney.

Unlike the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, these doses can be stored at fridge temperature, making them easier to distribute.

Most Australians are expected to receive the AstraZeneca vaccine, which needs two doses, administered 12 weeks apart.

About 90 frontline staff to receive vaccine

Staff at the Murray Bridge Hospital that will be leading the vaccine rollout.(

ABC News: Sarah Mullins


Sharon Harrison, director of nursing and midwifery at Murray Bridge Hospital, said it had been an exciting morning.

“We’ve just received the first batch of AstraZeneca vaccines that will be for our state, offering to our frontline staff, so it’s very exciting,” she said.

“It is very significant, there’s a lot of work happening in metro, and we’ve been so excited to be nominated, Murray Bridge, for the country. How is exciting is that?”

She said a strict process had been followed to secure the vaccines, with immunisations to begin tomorrow morning.

“There’s a cold chain process that we’ve had to follow … you’ll see that 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 … our first immunisation will happen at 9 o’clock tomorrow morning, with front row staff.

“We’re hoping to have around 90 staff vaccinated tomorrow.”

The first doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine being delivered to Murray Bridge.(

ABC News: Sarah Mullins


Gianni Ricci, regional coordinator of the vaccine rollout at Murray Bridge Hospital, said it would be a privilege to be the first to deliver the vaccines.

“It is a special day and I’m really excited and privileged to be a part of the Murray Bridge team,” he said.

“Murray Bridge Hospital has all the structures in place, certainly, it was quite easy to go forward and organise the clinic. Particularly with the turnaround and the time frame.

“We’re keen, staff are looking forward to it. There’s been a really popular response and certainly staff uptake is fantastic.”

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The vaccine arrived in Sydney earlier this week.