WA appoints COVID-19 Vaccine Commander
The WA Government has appointed State Emergency Coordinator Chris Dawson as the state’s COVID-19 Vaccine Commander for Western Australia’s COVID-19 vaccine program.
“As WA’s top cop, Commissioner Dawson has shone through this pandemic and it’s fitting he will lead WA’s COVID-19 Vaccine Program,” Police Minister Paul Papalia said.
“During the pandemic, our police officers have played a significant role in keeping the State safe, be it through day-to-day policing, effectively bolstering our borders or targeted special operations to catch criminals and syndicates bucking the law.”
Premier Mark McGowan said the vaccination program was a key priority for the state government. And, although there has been an uptake in vaccination rates throughout the state, he expressed that they shouldn’t be complacent with the current increase.
“Dedicated leadership will help drive the program forward, putting WA in the best position to complete the rollout with innovative and fit-for-purpose strategies, unique for WA,” Premier McGowan said.
“The Police Commissioner has done a tremendous job throughout the pandemic, and I have full confidence he will continue to excel and deliver on this important task ahead, as both the State Emergency Coordinator and Vaccine Commander.”
Commissioner Dawson will still remain as the State Emergency Coordinator. However, he will assume the responsibilities of the Vaccine Commander effective immediately until the end of this year.
As the state’s Vaccine Commander, Commissioner Dawson will be responsible for the delivery of the COVID-19 vaccination program by providing whole-of-State oversight and leveraging cross-government capabilities to maximise the rollout through State and Commonwealth channels.
Commissioner Dawson will also engage with Commonwealth, State and non-Government sectors, leading communications and stakeholder engagement to ensure specific hesitant groups are supported to take up the vaccine.
Minister Papalia said that Deputy Commissioner Col Blanch will be undertaking the day-to-day duties of the Police Commissioner in lieu of Commissioner Dawson.
Under the state’s vaccine program, the Chief Operating Officer, along with a small project team comprising relevant experts in data analysis, project management, logistics, communication and engagement, will report directly to the Vaccine Commander.
The Vaccine Commander will then report directly to the Premier and Health Minister. A Vaccination Strategic Coordination Group will be established to support the Commander. The Chief Health Officer will oversee the vaccine operations in conjunction with the Vaccine Commander.
WA’s COVID-19 vaccination program commenced six months ago. Since then, the vaccination scope has expanded significantly, with now 47.2 per cent of the eligible population receiving their first dose of the vaccine.
The appointment of a vaccination program lead in WA is in line with approaches taken by other jurisdictions.
The State will also continue to lead in other priorities such as hotel quarantine, testing and contact tracing in order to effectively deliver its COVID-19 response.
“I’m pleased to say WA’s efforts have since turned this around and with a cross-government approach, we’ve been able to give the vaccine rollout program the momentum it needs to now accelerate in line with sufficient vaccine supply,” Health Minister Roger Cook said.
“Getting the COVID-19 vaccine is the best chance of protecting yourself and your loved ones and I’d appeal to anyone who is eligible to go and get the COVID-19 vaccine now.”
SOURCE: GOVERNMENT OF WESTERN AUSTRALIA MEDIA RELEASE