November 22, 2021
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has announced the appointment of Queensland’s new Chief Health Officer.
Dr John Gerrard, who is currently director of Infectious Diseases at Gold Coast University Hospital, is an awarded researcher and clinician with more than 30 years’ experience.
He was also the first person in Queensland to treat a COVID patient.
“As we enter this new stage of the pandemic it is vital to have someone of Dr Gerard’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.”
Dr Gerrard has a long track record of research into emerging infectious diseases and vaccine development.
He was recognised for ground-breaking research into the emergence of AIDS in Australia and honoured with the Humanitarian Overseas Service medal for his work in confronting the Ebola outbreak in West Africa in 2014.
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.
Dr Gerrard said he was honoured to follow Queensland’s previous Chief Health Officer, Dr Jeannette Young.
“Dr Young showed the importance of implementing public health measures and being able to explain them in a way people could appreciate and understand,” Dr Gerrard said.
“That has never been more important than now as we encourage people to get vaccinated before more cases arrive.”