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WA gets new COVID-19 Vaccine Commander

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WA has a new COVID Vaccine Commander who will take over from Police Commissioner Chris Dawson.

Mr Dawson was handed the role on August 24 to help turbocharge the State’s lagging vaccination rates.

Exactly five months on, his right-hand man – Deputy Commissioner Gary Dreibergs – has accepted the baton.

Mr Dreibergs has been instructed to prioritise booster shots and paediatric doses for children aged five to 11.

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Camera IconNew Vaccine Commander Gary Dreibergs. Credit: Simon Santi/The West Australian

He will also be required to engage with Commonwealth, State and non-government sectors to ensure hesitant groups are supported to take up the vaccine.

WA is trailing every other State and Territory in terms of vaccination rates for Indigenous Australians.

Just 57.8 per cent of the Aboriginal population is double jabbed.

Mr Dreibergs may also face another hurdle with Premier Mark McGowan’s delayed border opening risking vaccine apathy among those in need of their third dose.

Mr McGowan thanked Mr Dawson for his “outstanding work” and said he was looking forward to working with him in his role as the Police Commissioner and State Emergency Coordinator.

“Commissioner Dawson’s work ethic, leadership and unwavering sense of duty are key reasons our State has not only reached our bold vaccine targets, but also surpassed them – targets many critics thought were unachievable,” Mr McGowan said.

WA’s double dose vaccination rate for those over 12 sits at 89.7 per cent.

Police Minister Paul Papalia would not comment on whether Mr Dawson would be reappointed Commissioner for another five years with his tenure due to expire in August.

Health Minister Amber-Jade Sanderson congratulated Mr Dreibergs on the role and said his wide range of roles within the police force would help him navigate the community through the next phase of the pandemic.

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