By Juliano Oliveira
Zoe Park, a frontline nurse at Gold Coast University Hospital, is the first Queenslander to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
“I’m very excited. It is a very exciting time for health care workers in Queensland. Definitely, I feel safe going to work now,” Ms Park said.
Asked if the shot had hurt, she was emphatic by saying that it didn’t bother her at all. “I hardly felt it. I thought that the flu shot hurt a lot more.”
The vaccination campaign goes now to Princess Alexandra and Cairns Hospitals, where frontline workers are expected to receive their first Pfizer jabs on Wednesday and Friday this week.
In the coming months, the AstraZeneca vaccine will be distributed to Queensland by the Australian Government.
“I would encourage everyone to get it…It’s really scary for healthcare workers to be going home and potentially exposing their families to that as well, so this [the vaccine rollout] is very exciting,” Ms Park said.
Health Minister Yvette D’Ath said COVID-19 said that today was the first of five million steps on the road to recovery for Queensland.
“Now, the vaccines approved by the national regulator give us an additional weapon to fight against COVID,” she said.
“In coming weeks and months, every Queenslander who wants to get vaccinated against COVID will get be able to access one of the vaccines at no cost.”
Gold Coast Hospital and Health Service Infectious Diseases Director Dr John Gerrard said the GC health service has seen 230 COVID-19 positive patients since the start of the pandemic.
“How fitting that the first vaccination in Queensland goes to one of those nurses, who has spent the last year caring for those on our COVID-19 wards.
Queensland Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young said it was a day she had been waiting for all year.
“I am very excited, but we still have much work to do,” Dr Young said.
“The most important thing everyone can do from here is get vaccinated. I know I will be ready and 100 per cent confident when it is my turn in the queue.”