Anti-Vaxx NRL Players Given 48-Hour Ultimatum To Get Flu Jab Or Be Stood Down
Two professional Queensland rugby league players have been told they have 48 hours to get a flu shot or face being stood down for the season.
In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, the NRL has said players can only come back for training and games if they get a flu jab.
Gold Coast Titans pair Bryce Cartwright and Brian Kelly were some of the people who objected to the mandatory ruling, causing a major rift in the code.
There was speculation that the athletes would be allowed to play if they signed a waiver acknowledging they were at a greater risk of sickness if they caught the flu or coronavirus. However, Queensland Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young declared that any players from any team flying into the state without a flu shot won't be allowed to play.
As a result, that declaration has been extended to players within Queensland as well.
A statement from the Gold Coast Titans said: "[We] have made formal requests to Bryce Cartwright and Brian Kelly to obtain up-to-date influenza and, as required, pneumococcal vaccinations.
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"Doing so will enable each player to meet the requirements of the Queensland State Government's protocols allowing Queensland-based NRL Clubs to train and play. In turn, this will allow both players to resume training and to play with the Titans when the NRL Telstra Premiership resumes on May 28.
"Both players have been asked to notify the Club of their agreement with this direction by Thursday 14 May."
Fox Sports reports Cartwright and Kelly are among 20 players who have refused to get the flu shot on different grounds. The NRL had previously allowed the conscientious objection for whatever reason, however the code has since narrowed it to only medical grounds.
Jeannette Young explained that Queensland wasn't taking any chances with people's health.
"I sent a letter to the NRL yesterday in which I did exempt them for medical contrary indications, no different to the exemptions I provide for children who are attending child care or for people going to aged care so they have those same exemptions," she said.
"If they have got medical reasons for not being vaccinated (they will receive an exemption).
"If they have had an anaphylactic reaction to previous flu vaccine or any component of a flu vaccine, you do not need to be vaccinated so I have provided that exemption."
Queensland is one of three Australian states that have a No Jab, No Play policy, which bans children from entering childcare unless they've been fully vaccinated.
Featured Image Credit: NAPARAZZI (Flickr)