Queensland’s new Chief Health Officer has finally been announced, following a shock vacation of the role by Dr Krispin Hajkowicz, before he even began, leaving Queensland without an appointed Chief Health Officer in the midst of a pandemic.
A media release put out by Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk’s office on November 22 announced the new CHO as Dr John Gerrard . The release read:
“Dr Gerrard is an internationally respected and awarded researcher and clinician with more than 30 years’ experience.
“Dr Gerrard is currently director of Infectious Diseases at Gold Coast University Hospital … Dr Gerrard has a long track record of research into emerging infectious diseases and vaccine development. Dr Gerrard has also worked on other highly infectious diseases, researching AIDS in Australia, and working on the Ebola outbreak in West Africa in 2014, winning the Humanitarian Overseas Service medal for this work.
“Dr Gerrard was the medical specialist lead in two separate international COVID responses – one aboard the Diamond Princess in Japan in February 2020 and the other in the Dutch Antilles in early 2021.
“He was instrumental in designing the Gold Coast University Hospital to manage patients with highly infectious viruses like COVID.”
Making comment about Dr Gerrard’s suitability for the position, the Premier said:
“As we enter this new stage of the pandemic it is vital to have someone of Dr Gerrard’s high standing as our Chief Health Officer,” the Premier said.
“Queensland has shown the importance of listening to expert health advice.
“It has kept us safe and will continue to keep us safe.”
The premier has also tweeted this exciting announcement:
BREAKING: Dr John Gerrard will become Queensland’s new Chief Health Officer.
Dr Gerrard is a respected researcher and clinician with more than 30 years’ experience.
His expert health advice will help keep all Queenslanders safe as we enter this next stage of the pandemic. pic.twitter.com/6KQx8uAy2z
— Annastacia Palaszczuk (@AnnastaciaMP) November 22, 2021
Her replacement, Dr Krispin Hajkowicz, was announced on October 5, however, Dr Hajkowicz quit the role at the eleventh hour, leaving Queensland without a permanent Chief Health Officer, as the state battled ongoing vaccine hesitancy.
Dr Krispin Hajkowicz stepped down from the role just three days before he was set to take over the position, with the official media release published by Minister for Health and Ambulance Services Yvette D’Ath’s office citing “personal reasons” for his shock departure.
The release read:
“Deputy CHO Dr Peter Aitken will act in the role until a permanent replacement is appointed. Minister for Health and Ambulance Services Yvette D’Ath said she respected Dr Hajkowicz’ decision and his request for privacy.”