- State Emergency Coordinator Chris Dawson appointed as Vaccine Commander
- Dedicated oversight role to drive WA's COVID-19 vaccine program
- Appointment effective immediately for the initial term to December, 31 2021
- Deputy Police Commissioner to undertake day-to-day Police Commissioner duties
The McGowan Government has today announced the appointment of State Emergency Coordinator Chris Dawson to the new role as Western Australia's COVID-19 Vaccine Commander to lead and drive the State's COVID-19 vaccine program.
Commissioner Dawson will remain the State Emergency Coordinator and assume the responsibilities of the Vaccine Commander effective immediately for the initial term to December 31, 2021.
WA's Vaccine Commander will be responsible for the State's delivery of the COVID-19 vaccination program, providing whole-of-State oversight and leveraging cross-government capabilities to maximise the rollout through State and Commonwealth channels.
The Commander role also entails engaging with Commonwealth, State and non-Government sectors, leading communications and stakeholder engagement to ensure specific hesitant groups are supported to take up the vaccine.
Deputy Commissioner Col Blanch will be directed by Commissioner Dawson to undertake day-to-day duties of the Police Commissioner for this period.
To support the operational delivery of the vaccine program, the Chief Operating Officer of the Vaccine Program within the Department of Health, 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 WA COVID-19 Vaccine Commander will report directly to the Premier and Health Minister and a Vaccination Strategic Coordination Group will be established to support the Commander with the Directors General of the Departments of Premier and the Cabinet and Health as well as the Chief Health Officer.
The Chief Health Officer has statutory, regulatory, public health direction and clinical oversight roles in relation to the vaccination program, and will continue to perform those responsibilities, in conjunction with the Vaccine Commander.
WA's COVID-19 vaccination program commenced six months ago to deliver COVID-19 vaccines to priority groups prescribed by the Commonwealth Government.
Since then, the State's scope has expanded significantly to deliver the COVID vaccine to those eligible including everyone aged 16 years and older, 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, including the Commonwealth.
WA Health will continue to lead in other priorities including hotel quarantine, testing and contact tracing to keep delivering WA's COVID-19 response effectively.
Comments attributed to Premier Mark McGowan:
"The vaccination program is a key priority for my Government, especially when the pandemic continues to wreak havoc and cause devastation around the world and in Australia.
"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.
"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.
"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.
"I want to thank everyone across Government who has been collaborating on WA's effective response to and management of COVID-19, which has kept Western Australians safe.
"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."
Comments attributed to Health Minister Roger Cook:
"We embarked on the rollout of the vaccination program in WA in earnest six months ago and I want to thank everyone at WA Health who contributed to establishing the program.
"WA endured supply constraints for most of the period, coupled with the emerging vaccine safety issues, WA's unique remote geography and vast footprint.
"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.
"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."
Comments attributed to Police Minister Paul Papalia:
"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.
"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.
"Deputy Commissioner Blanch is well qualified and experienced to manage the day-to-day responsibilities of the Commissioner in the WA Police Force, while we ensure the vaccine rollout is delivered to an overwhelming majority of our population right across our State.
"I want to thank our officers who day-in-day-out continue their oath and duties to protect Western Australians and their local communities."
Premier's office - 6552 5000
Health Minister's office - 6552 6500
Police Minister's office - 6552 5600