‘Do the right thing’: GP

Dr Mukesh Haikerwal (centre) and the team. (Joe Mastroianni). 217076_04

Goya Dmytryshchak

A prominent western suburbs doctor has called out those breaching chief health officer directions during the COVID lockdown and politicians for declaring all those aged 16-18 will be vaccinated.

Altona North GP and Australian Medical Association state council chairman, Mukesh Haikerwal, said the system wouldn’t work unless everyone complied.

It comes as an Altona North family – widely misreported as coming from Newport – was visited by police for allegedly failing to comply with COVID isolation requirements.

The Newport cluster has affected all Victorians since the Delta variant sparked an outbreak at Al-Taqwa College in Truganina last month.

A Victoria Police spokesperson said officers were called to help Department Health staff at the family’s Altona North home.

“Victoria Police assisted authorised officers from the Department of Health serve a Direction and Detention Notice on the occupants of an address in Altona North [Wednesday],” the spokesperson said.

“At the time police attended there were no identified breaches of chief health officer directions.”

A Department of Health spokesperson said family members had been served notices to remain in their homes and the premises would be monitored.

“We will work with Victoria Police on any next steps should any further breaches be detected,” the spokesperson said.

Dr Haikerwal, who is delivering vaccines at both the Altona North Respiratory Clinic and a trial ‘surge centre’ at Altona Badminton Centre in Altona North, said people not following the rules were putting everyone “in jeopardy”.

“The system works on fairness, telling the truth and sticking to the rules, and each one of those is not being followed,” he said.

“People are not being fair: they’re booking three or four different appointments in different places just so they can be head of the crowd – and not cancelling.

“They’re not being truthful: they’re coming and saying that they have no symptoms when they have.

“And also they’re not complying.

“And each of those things is putting us all in jeopardy.

“Potentially, Crime Stoppers should be asked to take care of those people.”

Dr Haikerwal said he had faced abuse for asking people to do the right thing.

“For us, doing the right thing puts us in jeopardy because they’re doing the wrong thing,” he said.

“Why should they get away with it when I keep getting clobbered every time they completely stuff up the system by not doing the right thing?

“Why is it when I tell somebody to take their mask from under their chin to over their nose where it should be, that they abuse me?

“By doing what they’re doing, they’re potentially contaminating everybody around them and they don’t care.

“They’re worried about their civil rights and liberty but what about mine?

“Everybody’s got their rights – they’ve got their responsibilities, too.”

Dr Haikerwal said health workers were doing everything they could to get people vaccinated but politicians from all sides were “making undeliverable announcements”.

“You get the state minister, the state premier, the national minister and the national prime minister making undeliverable announcements,” he said.

“Undeliverable announcements are, we will now do all kids through 16-18 and we’ll do VCE.

“Where’s the vaccines?

“Where are they going to go and get them booked in?

“Who’s going to do those jabs?

“And then who’s going to do dose twos – because they’re not given dose twos.

“And [they] have the audacity of saying, ‘Oh, go to a GP for dose two’.”