A Gold Coast nurse working on a COVID-19 ward has become the first person in the state to get the vaccination, almost 400 days since the first case.
Gold Coast nurse Zoe Park has become the first person in Queensland to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, almost 400 days since the first case was recorded in the state.
About 180 frontline workers will receive their first dose of the Pfizer inoculation at the Gold Coast University Hospital on Monday.
Ms Park, who works in the COVID-19 ward, said she felt “a lot safer going to work” now she had the shot.
“It’s a very exciting time for all healthcare workers in Queensland,” she said.
“And it didn’t hurt at all … I hardly felt it. The flu shot hurt a lot more.”
Alongside Ms Park was Owen Hortz, the Gold Coast police inspector responsible for the city’s hotel quarantine facilities, and clinical nurse Kellie Kenway, who will be administering the vaccines.
More than 1000 people are set to receive the needle this week, with vaccinations to begin at the Princess Alexandra Hospital in Brisbane on Wednesday and in Cairns on Friday.
The state’s chief health officer said Ms Park’s jab was a “historic moment” in the fight against the pandemic.
“One down, four million minus one to go,” Dr Jeannette Young said.
“We need every single adult Queenslander 18 and older to get vaccinated as quickly as we can.
“The first target is the most crucial. The 37,000 who work in our hotels and on the front line.”
Dr Young said she was hopeful the state could “rapidly ramp up” to 10,000 vaccinations each week.
Health Minister Yvette D’Ath said it had been 391 days since Queensland had its first case of COVID-19 admitted at the Gold Coast hospital.
At least 125,000 Queenslanders will be vaccinated under category 1a, which covers frontline health workers, border and hotel quarantine staff, and aged care residents and staff.
It comes as two new cases were detected in the state’s the hotel quarantine facilities overnight.
“That is why our first vaccination priority group is those working in the front line. Our borders and hotel quarantine workers and those here at our hospitals working in the COVID wards managing patients with COVID,” Ms D’Ath said.
“COVID will be here for a long time … To keep five million Queenslanders safe, we need you to get vaccinated.”
Dr Young, Ms D’Ath and Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk will not receive their jab until stage 1b.
“We’re very keen to get it … But these people are our priority,” Ms D’Ath said.
“We want to show the public we have absolute confidence … It is important we give these vaccines to our highest priority group.
“I have no criticism of the PM getting the vaccine. It is important he shows he has absolute confidence. We acknowledge that and welcome that, but this is a decision we have made.”