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‘I simply can’t do three jobs’: Chris Dawson explains Vaccine Commander role

Gareth Parker
Police Commissioner Chris Dawson

Chris Dawson has revealed he couldn’t remain fully committed to leading WA Police while tasked with overseeing our COVID-19 vaccine rollout.

Deputy Commissioner Col Blanch will take on the duties as Police Commissioner, while Mr Dawson takes on a new role as Vaccine Commander.

He’s already been leading the state’s response to the pandemic as State Emergency Coordinator, but said dropping the day-to-day policing will free up some of his time.

“I simply can’t do three jobs,” he told Gareth Parker.

“The pandemic has meant that I have spent, I would estimate 70 to 80 per cent of every day as a State Emergency Coordinator.”

WA’s vaccine rollout has been lagging compared to other jurisdictions and he hopes he can help change that.

“It’s a very big operation, obviously logistically to rollout a vaccine program across the world’s largest land mass jurisdiction,” he said.

“The general community attitude to this has been no sense of real urgency.

“We have got to penetrate that message right through to everyone, and say hey this is real.”

He said his role will be logistical, rather than a clinical public health role.

“I will not be bringing a white coat, a stethoscope and a needle.

“My role will really be overseeing it from a whole of program, whole of state delivery, project managing, and ensuring we have got really good community engagement.

“It’s not just about putting needles in arms, I think it is about access, it is about getting the understanding of the community and the cooperation of the community.”

Deputy Commissioner Col Blanch will be responsible for the day-to-day duties of the force until the end of the year.

“Col will lead a very experienced team there, and I have full faith that our entire team will do what they have been doing for the last 18 months, put their shoulders to the wheel and do a fantastic job.”

Press PLAY to hear more about his new role

Gareth Parker