Get the COVID jab, Victorian Premier Dan Andrews tells ‘non-compliant’ Swan Hill Council CEO



Victorian Premier Dan Andrews has urged the chief executive of a regional council to get vaccinated against COVID-19 after reports emerged this week that he doesn’t intend to get the jab.  Key points: A local paper reports CEO John McLinden is working from home because of his “strong” views on vaccinationsSwan Hill Council’s mayor has declined to comment on the chief executive’s reported stance There were 18 new COVID cases in Swan Hill todaySwan Hill Council CEO John McLinden was quoted in a local newspaper saying he had “very strong views” on vaccine requirements which meant he was not working from his council office. Mr McLinden told the Swan Hill Guardian: “I’m not vaccine-compliant at this point in time so I am working from home.”Council strongly supports vaccines in our community and workforce, but recognises it’s each individual’s choice.”The CEO also told The Guardian it was a “personal choice” but would not disclose the reasons behind his stance.Mr McLinden declined to comment when contacted by the ABC.Catch up on the main COVID-19 news from October 23 with a look back at our blog.Sixty-six people in the Swan Hill local government area have contracted COVID-19 since the pandemic began.There are 59 active cases in the community with 18 new cases reported on Saturday as Victoria recorded 1,750 new cases.More than 14 per cent of those are in the state’s regional areas, officials say. Neighbouring local health area Mildura on Friday emerged from a two-week lockdown after a surge in cases.Premier: ‘It’s safe, it’s free, it works’ Mr Andrews on Friday said Mr McLinden should get vaccinated. “I would ask that person simply, if you don’t want to finish up in hospital, please go and get vaccinated,” Mr Andrews said. “With the greatest of respect … you’ll be working at home for a while because we haven’t set up a vaccinated economy just to dismantle it five minutes after we get the thing going.”That’s not happening here.”Because we’ve got health advice and logic and common sense tells you that a vaccinated person is at a fraction of the risk of putting avoidable pressure on our nurses and our hospital system.”I would respectfully say to that person please go and get vaccinated, it’s safe, it’s free, it works and it is available in record terms.”Councillors support jabSwan Hill Councillor Nicole McKay, who is also a nurse, did not want to comment on Mr McLinden directly but said she firmly believed in the necessity of vaccinations.”As someone who is wearing enormous amounts of PPE to work I am living this every day,” she said.”I feel very strongly about the vulnerability of certain sectors of our community.”It’s very well for people who are in certain positions of comfort and privilege to take stances, but there are lots of vulnerable people in our community.”In a general sense I am pro-choice … but in this situation where we have an international pandemic, we have millions of people who have died overseas, we’re in a very lucky situation … and we are now at a situation where we can go through this and limit that.” What you need to know about coronavirus:Councillor Les McPhee also didn’t want to comment on Mr McLinden’s reported stance but said having a CEO working from home was “not an ideal situation”.”If it’s just short term we can deal with it, but we will have to reassess it in the future,” he said. ‘Individual’s choice’Mayor Bill Moar declined to comment to the ABC.A Swan Hill Council statement in response to questions about Mr McLinden’s vaccination status said: “Council supports and is prepared to actively promote its support for increased vaccination rates within all communities.”That said, Swan Hill Rural City Council also recognises that it is an individual’s choice to vaccinate or not vaccinate.”Councillors this week voted to allow “hybrid” council meetings allowing “virtual participation” of councillors and staff prevented from attending because of their vaccination status.   “This decision will allow virtual participation where staff or Councillors are prevented from attending in person, because of their vaccination status, or any other reason.”Space to play or pause, M to mute, left and right arrows to seek, up and down arrows for volume.WatchDuration: 2 minutes 53 seconds2m 53s Recycling the waste COVID-19 has created(Emilia Terzon)Loading form…



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