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STATEMENT: I had COVID-19, it's no joke

June 02, 2021

This afternoon, I will reveal in my inaugural speech in Parliament that, at one stage in my life, I tested positive for COVID-19.

I contracted the infectious disease in February 2021 while I was working as a software manager in Seattle in the United States.

What followed can be described as nothing other than 10 days of pain and discomfort. I had a chronic headache, difficulty breathing, and I lost all sense of energy in my body.

As an able-bodied young male, I can only imagine how serious the symptoms can be for more vulnerable people such as the elderly and pregnant women.

I am sharing my story because I am alarmed by reports of increasing ‘vaccine hesitancy’ in the Australian population. I firmly believe that vaccination is good for you, and that Australians should get vaccinated as soon as possible.

I will also call on the Government to increase their transparency surrounding vaccination numbers, and to revamp their strategy addressing vaccine hesitancy, particularly in regional and rural areas.

During the height of the pandemic, the Premier did a really good job in terms of informing the public about how many cases there were and where. I’d like to see the Premier do the same thing, but with rates of COVID-19 vaccination.

Regional and rural WA is home to many culturally and lingually diverse communities where levels of misinformation and mistrust can be high. The Government should partner with local champions such as elders, athletes and artists, and promote the benefits of getting the jab.