MELBOURNE (REUTERS) – The Australian state of Victoria has included professional athletes in a vaccination mandate that will require around 1.25 million “authorized workers” to be vaccinated against Covid-19 by the end of November.
Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews announced the health order on Friday October 1 as the southern state grapples with an outbreak of the highly infectious Delta variant.
Categories of authorized workers released by the Government of Victoria include “professional or high performance athletes, workers who support the safe operation of that person’s professional sport” and broadcasters.
Authorized workers must be vaccinated with their first vaccine by October 15 and their second by November 26, or they will be banned from their workplace.
“At the end of the day if you want to come to work and you’re on the cleared list, you need to have your first shot by (October 15),” Mr Andrews told reporters as Victoria announced 1,143 new local cases coronavirus disease on Friday.
Victoria is the first Australian state to introduce such a vaccination mandate, although vaccination was made compulsory for elderly care workers across the country last month.
Victoria is home to dozens of professional football, cricket, Australian football and rugby teams, and is also a base for high performance centers in tennis, golf, track and field and other sports. .
It was not clear whether the mandate would extend to athletes visiting from other states or overseas.
The England cricket team are due to visit Melbourne for the Boxing Day test on December 26 during the Ashes, while the Australian Open tennis Grand Slam in Melbourne Park draws hundreds of international players.
Andrews said he would be surprised if England’s Ashes team were allowed into the country unless all of their players and staff were fully vaccinated. The first test begins in Brisbane on December 8.
“I do not issue passports or visas … but I think it is highly unlikely that the Commonwealth government will allow someone into this country who has not been subjected to a double vaxx, certainly in the medium term.” , did he declare.
“That could change over time.”
Governing body Cricket Australia (CA) said every nationally contracted cricketer, male and female, was already fully vaccinated and 98% of nationally trained professionals had received an injection.
“Almost all professional players will be fully immunized by the end of the month,” CA said in a statement.
The Australian Football League, the governing body of Australia’s football elite, said it was awaiting “official instructions from the government” on next steps.