A border worker has received the first COVID-19 vaccine to be administered in the Limestone Coast region.

Key points:

  • A border testing hut worker is the first to receive the Pfizer vaccine on the Limestone Coast
  • Limestone Coast Health Network executive director Elaine Pretorius urges the community to get vaccinated
  • Vaccination provides a extra layer of security for frontline workers

Deb Turner, an SA Pathology registered nurse, rolled up her sleeve this morning to become the first Limestone Coast resident to receive the Pfizer vaccine at the Mount Gambier and Districts Health Service.

Ms Turner has spent months working at COVID-19 testing huts along the South Australian-Victorian border and said she felt privileged to be the first with the jab.

“I do feel a sense of pride. It has been such an experience and an honour to be the first,” she said.

“It all went smoothly, it didn’t hurt, and I would just encourage everyone to get the vaccine because the benefits will be tenfold.”

She said receiving the vaccine would provide extra protection when undertaking her role on the frontline.

“We wear full PPE, but having this as well will just add that extra level of security.”

Community urged to get vaccinated

Limestone Coast Health Network executive director Dr Elaine Pretorius was also among the first four people to receive the vaccine in the region.

Limestone Coast Local Health Network’s Dr Elaine Pretorius receiving her COVID-19 vaccine.(

ABC South East SA: Becc Chave


She urged people to take up the offer of the vaccine when the opportunity presents.

“If you are offered the vaccine, please have the vaccine,” she said.

The first four vaccinations were administered to residents in the Limestone Coast this morning.(

ABC South East SA: Becc Chave


Mount Gambier and Districts Health Service security guard Merv Heemskerk and hospital concierge Sharyn Tibbles rounded out the first group of residents to receive the jab.

Mr Heemskerk said being vaccinated would help alleviate his concerns.

“It will give you confidence to go visit the so-called big cities, whereas we’ve been very sceptical over the last 12 months,” he said.

“I will definitely have a bit more confidence now that I’ve had the injection.”

The first four patients to receive the COVID-19 vaccine were given a sticker to wear with pride.(

ABC South East SA: Becc Chave


Dr Pretorius said it was pleasing to see the first vaccines administered to community members, who had been working on the front-line.

“These are all people who have been working selflessly and this is a just reward for our staff who have done their best during this COVID pandemic.”