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Parliamentary Questions

Question Without Notice No. 408 asked in the Legislative Council on 12 May 2022 by Hon Sophia Moermond

Parliament: 41 Session: 1


408. Hon SOPHIA MOERMOND to the Leader of the House representing the Minister for Health:

In correspondence late last year, the Western Australian Chief Health Officer reported that the Western Australia Vaccine Safety Advisory Committee had advised that because of the vaccine rollout, there had been a marked increase in patients who had experienced adverse events following immunisation against COVID-19. Dr Robertson went on to say that ''some severe and serious adverse effects had not been reported via the appropriate channels''. The minister has also attacked me personally over comments I made on the adverse effects of the COVID-19 immunisation to the Standing Committee on Environment and Public Affairs, calling me alarmist and dangerous.

(1) Can the minister confirm to the house the true number of patients who have had adverse reactions to the COVID-19 vaccine since the rollout began?

(2) How can the public have confidence in the figures from the Department of Health when we know that they have been misreported for some time?

(3) Will the minister apologise and withdraw her comments about me, given that some of the serious concerns I have put forward have now become painfully true?

Hon SUE ELLERY replied:

(1)–(2) The referenced correspondence from the Chief Health Officer was a reminder of the reporting requirements for health professionals. Health professionals have a statutory responsibility to report all adverse events following vaccination within 72 hours of diagnosis, as specified in the Public Health Act 2016 and the Public Health Regulations 2017. Adverse events following immunisation are reported to WA Health by health professionals or the public through the Western Australian Vaccine Safety Surveillance System's online portal.

The correspondence that the member has referred to in her question appears to have been misquoted. According to my notes, the letter reads in part: ''The recent national COVID-19 vaccination program rollout has resulted in an increase in awareness of patients who have experienced a potential adverse event following immunisation. The Western Australian Vaccine Safety Advisory Committee has recognised that some severe and serious AEFIs have not been reported via the appropriate channels.'' Reasons why the actual number of adverse events following immunisation are not reported include, but are not limited to: clients not seeking medical attention for an adverse reaction; clients not being aware that they should seek medical attention for a reaction; and clients not advising their doctor or doctors that they have received a vaccination within a recent time frame.

(3) No. COVID-19 vaccinations are safe and save lives. I again reiterate that this type of serious misinformation is concerning and potentially dangerous, and constituents reasonably expect their parliamentary representatives to deal in fact and truth.