A Canberra nurse has become the first person in the ACT to receive a COVID-19 jab.
Maddy Williams, 22, received the Pfizer vaccine on Monday morning at the Garran Surge Centre, which will now double as a coronavirus testing clinic and the ACT's first vaccination hub.
Ms Williams, whose first nursing job was testing people for coronavirus at the facility, said she would be among staff administering the vaccine after she got the jab.
Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt asked her if it hurt. She said it was painless.
Ms Williams later told media: "If anything, I actually felt like it was better than my normal flu vaccine."
She said she was really excited when she found out she was going to be the first person to get the vaccination in the ACT.
"I will have to tell my kids when I have them," she said.
"If [other people] come and get vaccinated as well it well help create herd immunity, which will help to get rid of COVID in Australia."
Nikoletta Karagiannidis, the nurse who vaccinated Ms Williams, said the process was much the same as administering any other vaccine.
"It's an intramuscular injection - same needles, just different volume sizes ... same exact routine," she said.
But she said she and other nurses were cautious in their handling of the Pfizer vaccine, given it was sensitive to temperature and had to be stored at minus 70 degrees.
"It's pretty much like liquid gold so we're going to take all precautions and measurements that we can to ensure that it can be used," Ms Karagiannidis said.
She said she had been involved in testing at Garran Surge Centre before she became part of the vaccination efforts in the ACT, and it was "great to see the transition".
Fifty people in the ACT were expected to get the coronavirus vaccine at the Garran Surge Centre on Monday, while a total of 1000 people were expected to get the jab there by the end of the week.
The Commonwealth government, which is handling vaccine distribution to residential aged care facilities across Australia, has given those in the ACT another 1000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine to work with this week.
ACT Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith said Monday was a really exciting day for everyone across Canberra.
"Canberrans will remember when the [Garran] Surge Centre was first built in 36 days when we really didn't know what was going to happen with this global pandemic," she said.
"We didn't know if we were going to end up in the same situation as Italy [or] New York ... but as a nation and as a jurisdiction, we have done incredibly well in responding to this global pandemic.
"Today, we're taking the next step forward in starting to roll out the Pfizer vaccine."
Mr Hunt said the Garran Surge Centre was set up as a COVID overflow emergency department, and he was grateful it never had to be used for that purpose.
"We've done extraordinarily well but we have to continue the fight to help contain COVID," the minister said.
He said it was an honour and a privilege to have been federal Health Minister throughout the pandemic, although it hadn't been easy on his family.
"I apologise to my family for not being there, or not being there when I actually was there - that's probably the hardest part," Mr Hunt said.
"[There's] a little boy who misses out on time with dad and a young woman, now, who misses out on advice from dad.
"But they came and they lived [in Canberra] for a term, and the ACT took good care of them whilst they were here."
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The ACT's first batch of the Pfizer vaccine arrived on Sunday.
Ms Williams was among those eligible to get the vaccine in phase "1a" of the territory's rollout, given she is a healthcare worker.
The ACT's first jab coincided with first vaccinations in most states and territories across Australia, but the national rollout started on Sunday with 84-year-old aged care resident Jane Malysiak becoming the country's first to get the jab at 11.09am.
Ms Malysiak is a World War II survivor who grew up in Poland during the Depression and now lives in Sydney's west.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison also got the vaccine at Castle Hill Medical Centre in Sydney's north-west on Sunday morning, giving a "V for victory" sign and then a thumbs up after getting the jab.
Mr Morrison afterwards said the vaccines addressed the risk of serious disease and widespread fatalities from COVID-19 in Australia, and would prevent scenarios seen in nations hit harder during the pandemic.
"This vaccination means that we move further away from that every single day," he said.
"If you reduce, remove the level of serious risk of serious illness then you can begin to start managing this like you would any other virus in the community."
Chief medical officer Paul Kelly and the chief nursing officer Alison McMillan also received vaccinations on Sunday, as well as healthcare staff and other frontline workers including from the Australian Defence Force and Australian Border Force.
The plan is for most Australians to be eligible to get a coronavirus vaccine by October this year.
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