15 March 2021

Vaccine capacity tripled as first Canberran becomes fully vaccinated

| Dominic Giannini
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Maddy Williams receiving a Pfizer shot

Maddy Williams was the first Canberra to receive the Pfizer vaccine three weeks ago. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

The Garran Surge Centre is preparing to triple its vaccine administration capacity this week as the first Canberran to get the jab received their second shot of the Pfizer vaccine this morning (15 March).

Nurses at the centre will administer 500 jabs today and 3500 by the end of the week after Canberra received additional vaccine supplies over the weekend.

Maddy Williams, a nurse at the surge centre, was the first Canberran to receive the vaccine three weeks ago and said the jab eased her concerns about working on the frontline of the pandemic.

Inoculation requires two jabs of the same vaccine – 21 days apart for the Pfizer vaccine or between four and 12 weeks apart for AstraZeneca’s.

“It makes me feel really relaxed to know that I am fully immunised, especially when I am working in a healthcare environment,” Maddy said.

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“We are working in the community so there are higher risks. It definitely gives me a sign of relief being fully immunised.”

She was also hopeful that the rollout of the second jabs from this week would be another step forward in things returning to normal.

“I did travel around Australia in 2020, so I saw the effects of COVID on not just Canberra,” she said.

“It will be excellent when everyone becomes vaccinated, so travel and tourism can start up again.”

Maddy Williams and Nikoletta Karagiannidis

Maddy Williams (left) received the jab from her co-worker Nikoletta Karagiannidis. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

The director of Canberra Health Services and the person in charge of the surge centre, Cathie O’Neill, said the time it takes for people to reach peak protection after the second jab is not uniform.

“Everyone will be different when they reach their peak immunity,” she said. “We still have a long way to go in terms of the pandemic, but we are really pleased that we are able to progress the vaccination program here in Canberra.

“The three weeks rolled around incredibly quickly, but we are thrilled that we are starting our second doses of the Pfizer vaccine today.

“This surge centre is really going to surge this week.”

The centre is being used as a hub for both the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines.

For more information on the rollout of the vaccine in Canberra, visit www.covid19.act.gov.au/vaccine.

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