Rural NSW to receive vaccine within weeks

Tiffanie TurnbullAAP
Healthcare workers in regional NSW are in line to receive the coronavirus vaccine in coming weeks.
Camera IconHealthcare workers in regional NSW are in line to receive the coronavirus vaccine in coming weeks.

Health workers in regional NSW will begin receiving the coronavirus vaccine within weeks, as the state's vaccination program approaches a significant milestone.

Five major vaccination hubs and 99 satellite sites will be rolled out across NSW starting from March 15, Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced on Saturday.

Newcastle, Wollongong, Wagga Wagga, Coffs Harbour and Dubbo will host the hubs, which will dispatch doses to the smaller vaccine centres.

Health Minister Brad Hazzard described the Pfizer jab as "a very fussy vaccine" due to its storage temperature requirements.

"It is very happy at minus 70 or 80 degrees, but once it leaves those major hospitals to go to smaller towns, we've got about a five-day window to get the vaccine into frontline health workers arms," he said on Saturday.

Mr Hazzard said he was particularly relieved that healthcare and border workers in Wollongong and Newcastle will be vaccinated shortly.

"We have frontline staff meeting overseas freighters arriving at ports and those staff obviously are at higher risk than others," he said.

NSW is on track to achieve its goal of more than 35,000 vaccinations in the first three weeks, he added, but has also reached another milestone, with five million tests being conducted since the start of the pandemic.

News that incorrect doses of the vaccine had been given to aged care residents in Queensland by a doctor supposed to be under supervision was extremely concerning, Mr Hazzard said.

"But the federal government is doing their very best and the companies that they've employed are doing their very best.

"It's not to say that there'll be no hiccups ever, because of course you've got to expect that in this sort of one-in-100 year situation there will be hiccups."

Mr Hazzard also did not miss an opportunity to take a swing at Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk again, after her deputy filmed himself ripping up a tax invoice for hotel quarantine that Mr Hazzard says Queensland agreed to pay for.

"The Queensland premier has been disappointing on many occasions, but this was one of her best efforts," he said.

NSW recorded no new locally acquired cases on Saturday, for the 41st day in a row, but six cases were diagnosed in hotel quarantine.

Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails