Western Australia’s Police Commissioner has been appointed as the state’s covid-19 Vaccine Commander tasked with driving WA’s vaccination program and making sure vaccine hesitaters get a jab.
Commissioner Chris Dawson, who has also been State Emergency Co-ordinator during the pandemic, will serve as Vaccine Commander for at least until the end of the year.
Deputy Commissioner Col Blanch will take over day-to-day police commissioner responsibilities.
Commission Dawson will be responsible for delivering the COVID-19 vaccination program throughout WA, providing statewide oversight and leveraging cross-government capabilities to maximise the rollout, Premier Mark McGowan says.
He’ll report to the premier and health minister and oversee a team including the vaccine program COO and a project team of experts in data analysis, project management, logistics, communication and engagement.
A strategic coordination group of senior bureaucrats from health the premier’s department will be established to support him.
Commissioner Dawson will also engage with the Commonwealth, state and non-government sectors to lead communications and engagement to make sure the community fronts up for vaccination.
Vaccination a priority
WA kicked off its covid-19 vaccination program six months ago now has scope to vaccinate everyone aged 16 and above, with 47.2 per cent of the eligible population having received their first jab.
Mr McGowan says vaccination continues to be a key priorty for WA, although the state continues to be relatively covid-free with only 4 active cases on Wednesday despite outbreaks in other states.
“I’ve been pleased by the uptake of the vaccine in WA and I want to thank everyone who has heeded the calls – you’ve all done the right thing for yourselves, your family and your state,” the Premier said in a statement.
“However, we cannot rest on our laurels and we don’t want to see momentum diminish as we get closer and closer to those important vaccine targets.”
Last week WA announced it has reached an agreement with the commonwealth to build and operate a 1,000 bed quarantine centre in the state.
The first 500 beds are planned to be ready by the end of March next year.
It will be the fourth dedicated quarantine centre in Australia.
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