Former Tumut Mayor Trina Thomson has voiced her “absolute disbelief” at Snowy Valleys Deputy Mayor and paramedic John Larter saying the Covid-19 vaccination should not be compulsory for health care workers.
NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard has said that under the Public Health Order, health staff must have a first dose of vaccine by September 30 and be fully vaccinated by November 30, or at least have their second appointment booked to keep working.
In Tuesday’s Tumut and Adelong Times, Cr Larter said that while he was not “anti-vax”, he believed that health care workers should be given the choice of whether or not to get the vaccine, and that making it compulsory was likely to put pressure on a workforce already straining to cope with the virus response.
Another long-time paramedic in the region, who asked not to be named, supported this stance.
Ms Thomson is gobsmacked by this stance.
“I find it inconceivable that someone in his (Cr Larter’s) position as a supposed leader, and the role he has as a paramedic would be discouraging people from playing their role in making a safer community when he has colleagues in Sydney who have attended Covid-affected families that have been torn apart by it, ” she said.
“This is nothing more than political grandstanding at the expense of our community and the wider community.
“It’s a disgrace.”
Ms Thomson and Mr Larter were often at odds on matters when they were councillors on the former Tumut Shire Council, and so it is on this issue as well.
Ms Thomson believes in vaccination as the only way of safeguarding the community.
“It has been proven that hand sanitising and QR codes aren’t enough on their own because you can’t always rely on people to do the right thing,” he said.
“He (Cr Larter) is just pushing the far-right attitude like Matt Canavan (Nationals Senator) and George Christensen (Queensland LNP MP).
“I agree that people have a right to choose, but with that choice comes the responsibility of not having access and privileges that those who are fully vaccinated do.
“We need to promote our region as a Covid-safe aware community.”