11/01/2021 - 12:00

Chief health officer should front media: Kirkup

11/01/2021 - 12:00

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Opposition leader Zak Kirkup has called on the state’s chief health officer to front the media ahead of the roll out of the Pfizer vaccine in February.

Opposition leader Zak Kirkup says he would like to see the chief health officer front the media ahead of the COVID-19 vaccine roll out. Image: Jesinta Burton.

Opposition leader Zak Kirkup has called on the state’s chief health officer to front the media ahead of the roll out of the Pfizer vaccine in February.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, chief health officer Andrew Robertson has been a permanent feature of the state government’s daily press conference.

Though he is still advising the state government on how best to protect WA from the threat posed by COVID-19, he has been noticeably absent from the press conferences in recent months.

Late last week, the federal government announced that the Pfizer vaccine would be rolled out in February following its approval by the Therapeutic Goods Administration later this month, one month earlier than initially anticipated.

Frontline workers, including border control staff, hotel quarantine workers and health officials, are expected to be among the first to receive the vaccine.

While backing the advice the advice of the state’s chief health officer, Mr Kirkup said the roll out would mark a significant turning point in the state’s fight against the virus and urged Dr Robertson to be available to ensure the public understood the basis of the restrictions imposed by the state government.

“As the chief health officer, he has an obligation to the people of Western Australia to talk about the restrictions that he is advising the government on and to make sure that all West Australians understand the basis of the decisions being made,” he said.

“We don’t question that advice, we just want to make sure that we see the chief health officer out.

“It happens in every other state and territory and with the federal government, too.

“I think it’s time we see the chief health officer out together with the government announcing the decisions.

“We know people are worried about the vaccine roll out and I think it’s important we hear from the chief health officer so that we can all understand what will happen going forward when we do get access to the vaccine here in WA.”

But Premier Mark McGowan has previously defended the decision, advising that the state was not in the same situation it was during the height of the pandemic - with nine months since the last case of community transmission.

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