Peter Gutwein

Premier of Tasmania

25 March 2021

Sarah Courtney, Minister for Health

Vaccine update and wastewater testing in Tasmania

I am proud of the job Tasmanians have done in working together to keep on top of COVID.

It has been an exciting time in recent weeks as we’ve kicked off the COVID-19 vaccination rollout, with Phase 1B now well underway in our communities.

There have now been more than 10,000 vaccinations delivered through the State Government program, with new clinics online this week, and Phase 1A on track to be completed next month.

I recently detailed the State Government’s new community clinics as part of our vaccine program, and it was brilliant to visit the Kingston clinic which opened its doors on Monday.

The staff at the Kingston clinic have done an amazing job, as they have in so many locations around the State, putting the infrastructure and services in place to meet our needs during this pandemic.

I can advise that the Mowbray clinic, housed at the race track, will be getting underway tomorrow and is a very welcome addition to our vaccination campaign.

There will be State Government clinics at Brighton and New Norfolk – and there will be further details regarding the next North West State Government vaccine clinic announced in the near future, as well as mobile clinics expected to be set up in a number of regional centres during Phase 1B, including Ouse, Huonville, Kempton, George Town and Scottsdale over the coming weeks.

We all know GPs play a vital role in delivering vaccines to the Tasmanian community, and they are clearly a key component of the national effort to vaccinate against COVID-19. With GP clinics coming online there are now opportunities for eligible Tasmanians to get vaccinated in all corners of our State, and we expect more local GP clinics to be added to the Federal Government’s vaccination program in the near future.

From next month, I can confirm Tasmania will be establishing a wastewater testing program for the first time, as part of our ongoing surveillance efforts for COVID-19. The Tasmanian program will collect samples of wastewater from across the State, with samples transported to a laboratory for testing in South Australia, as this capability does not presently exist in Tasmania.

The results will be reported to the Department of Health, and while this initial stage of the program is underway we will also be working to develop in-state capability for wastewater testing that meets national standards. Importantly, this new capacity is expected to be in place by the end of the year.

We have seen COVID-19 wastewater testing used in a number of other states, and this is yet another tool to support our surveillance efforts, on top of maintaining high levels of testing.

The Tasmanian community is to be congratulated for their efforts, it is only because of their hard work that we are able to reduce restrictions, and we want to see our community safety maintained.

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