Shadow Minister for Corrective Services, the Hon Peter Collier MLC, has called out the State Government’s alarmingly low vaccination levels in all State prisons.
Mr Collier said that while the general population State-wide is witnessing very high first, second third dose vaccination rates, it would be expected a far more controllable prison population would reflect these numbers.
“Instead of the very high 95 per cent double dose vaccination rate and nearly 60 per cent triple dose rate, we’re not see anything nearly as encouraging in our prison system.
“As of yesterday, only 12.2 per cent of prisoners have received one COVID 19 vaccine dose, 53.5 per cent of prisoners were double vaccinated and 11.7 per cent were triple vaccinated.
“Even more concerning is that Banksia Prison, WA’s only youth prison, has under 30 per cent of the children vaccinated with either dose of a COVID 19 vaccine.
“WA Labor have completely mismanaged this situation. They’ve had two years COVID free in WA to prepare for the inevitable onset of the virus throughout the state. This is yet another example of how the McGowan government has wasted this opportunity.
“Yesterday in Parliament it was confirmed the State Government is now relying upon a private medical provider to undertake a supposed ‘further mass vaccination program’. Quite frankly this should have been implemented and completed within the state’s own resources.’
‘We are dealing with an extremely vulnerable and marginalised cohort of the population who are, by design, confined in a narrow location. They can’t walk down to the local clinic for a vaccination. This is placing literally hundreds of prisoners unnecessarily at risk.
Mr Collier said along with the lagging vaccination levels, COVID Containment and Pandemic Plans have not had clear clarification as to how they will reduce the risk of COVID outbreaks in prisons.
“Yesterday I asked what strategies were in place to cater for a COVID outbreak in any of WA’s prisons.
“It was evident from the response that there simply is no plan – they are making it up as they go along.
“The health of prisoners is very much at risk at the moment. We shouldn’t value judge them based upon the fact that they are incarcerated and assume that they are less significant than other members of our community. As a society, we are better than that – unfortunately that doesn’t appear to be the view of the McGowan Labor Government.”