The gamers, by way of their union (AFLPA), reckon that, with 5 rounds remaining plus finals (and a pre-finals bye with a bit of luck), it’s too late for collective vaccination of the 800-plus footballers.
The AFLPA informed The Age: “This is a vital coverage dialogue that should happen within the low season, and given the timing, a gaggle vaccination program would don’t have any sensible impression on efficiently finishing this season.”
Nicely, they may be proper that the horse – whether or not AstraZeneca or Pfizer – has bolted so far as getting gamers vaxxed in season 2021.
However the perspective to vaccination is shifting, and there’s a case that the AFL ought to be rather less bashful (hardly their default mindset) about pushing a vaccination barrow with the federal government.
Definitely, the target should be to have each single AFL footballer – and staffer – vaccinated earlier than the pre-season of 2022. The AFL has been useless fortunate with the virus.
It’d argue that its strict protocols and nifty dealings with state governments has saved it protected, however the daybreak of Delta underscores its luck to have averted outbreaks inside groups and staffers.
Australia’s Olympic staff has been totally vaccinated, on the behest of the federal authorities, because it needed to be given the instances in Tokyo. Cricketers who go abroad, too, can get vaccinated.
The AFL – once more, eager to stay in lockstep with the federal government’s coverage – has not put any proposal as but to the gamers relating to vaccination. It’s within the early levels, although, of placing collectively a working group internally that may grapple with the vexed vaccination path ahead.
Technically, a person footballer might go to his GP and ask for approval to get AstraZeneca, which, as we properly know, has suffered a public relations dent as a result of combined messaging about its efficacy and (very distant) likelihood of harmful uncomfortable side effects.
If individuals object to footballers together with within the NRL – getting an arm up, so to talk, within the vaccination queue, Australia can also be reaching a degree the place the necessity for everybody to be vaccinated is paramount.
Footballers, furthermore, may very well be highly effective position fashions for most people. A public relations marketing campaign that includes, say, Dustin Martin and Lance Franklin extolling the virtues of vaccination will surely fight the vaccine hesitancy on the market; ditto for cricketers and NRL gamers.
Too late for this season, maybe, however the AFL ought to be rolling up their sleeves as quickly as doable.
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