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No fines for COVID-19 vaccine refusal, WA Health Minister confirms

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West Australians won’t be fined for refusing a COVID-19 vaccine, the state’s Health Minister Roger Cook says.

The WA Government is working with the Commonwealth to implement a rollout of a COVID-19 vaccine as early as subsequent month.

Mr Cook stated there can be a requirement for folks working in sure areas to be vaccinated.

“If they want to work in that particular setting, maybe a hospital situation or something of that nature, or aged care setting, we will require them to vaccinate if they want to continue to work in that space,” he stated.

“But I can’t see a situation in Australia where we compel people to undertake a medical procedure.

“I do not help fines or a obligatory method in relation to a vaccine.”

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A timeline of COVID-19 in Western Australia

Mr Cook said the advice to the public would be the same as for other vaccines; trust the science and the evidence and consider the community.

He told 6PR there were still a lot of issues to work through.

“With the Pfizer vaccine which seems to be like it will be the primary one in, the chilly chain provide of that individual vaccine goes to be very difficult,” he said.

“Particularly in a state like Western Australia the place we’ve huge distances and widely-dispersed inhabitants.”

It is expected there will be large vaccination points where multiple doses could be provided, possibly by GPs.

A million Pfizer doses expected

Mr Cook stated WA might anticipate to obtain one million doses of the Pfizer vaccine.

A mother and her young daughter queue outside a COVID Clinic based at Royal Perth Hospital
West Australians are unlikely to be compelled to simply accept a COVID-19 vaccine.(ABC News: James Carmody)

“That’s half-a-million folks that could possibly be vaccinated by the Pfizer vaccine,” he said.

“Our precedence will clearly be healthcare staff, folks engaged on the entrance line, in quarantine, airports and issues of that nature.

“And then we’ll move through to the vulnerable patient cohorts, such as aged care residents, obviously aged care workers are part of that first stream, and obviously older and Aboriginal communities.”

WA Premier Mark McGowan stated border preparations can be reliant on well being recommendation.

“The interstate border has been essential to protecting our state,” he stated.

“We’ll obviously roll out a vaccine through the course of this year, but we’ll take health advice on borders and the like.

“The sooner we get a vaccine on the market, the earlier that we may be assured that the well being outcomes will enhance.”

Opposition Leader Zak Kirkup said as long as it could be done safely, it was important for the vaccination program to go ahead.

Mr Kirkup, who is also a volunteer ambulance officer, said he was keen to be vaccinated.

“People are anxious concerning the roll out of the vaccine so I feel so long as it may be completed safely as potential, we help any roll out of the vaccine to ensure we are able to shield West Australians as quickly as potential,” he said.

“I’ll, like I believe many West Australians, be very eager to entry it and get vaccinated. It’s an necessary a part of ensuring that we’re free from COVID-19.”

Mr Kirkup said he believed the Federal Government had done everything it could to protect Australians and any vaccine with higher than 50 per cent efficacy was appropriate to be rolled out.

Rollout a challenge in northern WA

The rollout will be particularly challenging in northern Western Australia, where remote Aboriginal residents are being prioritised to receive the vaccine.

The Kimberley Aboriginal Medical Service will play a key role, using its network of remote health clinics to administer the doses.

Its medical director, Dr Lorraine Anderson, said there would be a small delay before vaccinations could start.

“In phrases of our distant communities right here within the Kimberley, we’re most likely not going to be vaccinating in mid-February — it is extra prone to be in March or after that,” she said.

“In these Aboriginal communities, the primary folks to be vaccinated can be these over 50 years of age, which I do not suppose anybody can be put out by.”

She said it was unlikely the initial Pfizer vaccine would be used in remote areas, due to the difficulties managing the temperature requirements in sweltering northern towns.

“The vaccine we’ll seemingly have entry to is the Moderna vaccine, and that may be saved as our regular chilly chain temperature,” she said.

“That’s going to be one thing that can be a lot simpler for us to handle in our distant communities.”

Indigenous Australians are being prioritised for vaccination attributable to greater charges of continual well being situations.

A head shot of Dr Anderson.
Dr Anderson doesn’t consider the vaccine can be rolled out within the Kimberley earlier than March.(Supplied)

But there is already some resistance swirling in Kimberley communities, with some people posting on social media that Indigenous Australians are being treated as “guinea pigs”.

Community leaders are hoping their will be an information campaign targeted at Indigenous communities, including the use of local languages, to dispel misinformation circulating about the vaccine risk.

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