Shadow Minister for Health Libby Mettam has welcomed the decision by the McGowan Labor Government to ensure that hotel quarantine workers are vaccinated.
“We have been calling for this for several weeks and while it is disappointing it has taken so long given the current health crisis, it is a necessary direction,” Ms Mettam said.
“We currently have about 40 per cent of hotel quarantine workers that have not been vaccinated and it is simply not a viable position to have so many frontline workers unvaccinated and potentially exposed to the virus.
“We support an individuals’ right not to take the COVID vaccine, if they do not wish to do so, they should be redeployed into a job where they are not dealing directly with patients or overseas travellers who have COVID-19.
“We have been making these calls since March and it is extraordinary that the Premier can only commit to introducing such a policy for frontline quarantine workers from next week.”
Ms Mettam said it was extraordinary given other States, such as Queensland, introduced the policy immediately.
“The McGowan Government went to the election on a platform of keeping WA safe, but they have dragged their feet on implementing this policy despite the warnings from other States.
“We know how costly an outbreak of COVID 19 can be, following the five-day State lockdown in January in response to an infected hotel quarantine worker, and it’s disappointing that the McGowan Government has been slow to respond to key safety measures.”
Ms Mettam said today’s revelation that another worker was potentially exposed to COVID in our hospital due to a PPE breach has once again highlighted how vulnerable the health system and the relevant frontline health workers were.
“If the McGowan Government can’t manage one COVID-19 patient without exposing multiple staff to the virus, what hope would our health system have if there was a widespread outbreak?”