The AFL will be a no-vax, no play code in 2022 after the release of the league’s vaccination policy.
Under a three-stage vaccination rollout for the league, players and football staff at West Coast and Fremantle must be fully vaccinated by February 18, 2022.
Stricter deadlines will be imposed for Victoria and New South Wales, reflecting workplace vaccination regulations in those states.
An AFL statement said the policy “reflects the AFL’s strongly held view that as the governing body of the sport, we share responsibility to address the risk of exposure to COVID-19 of our Players and Football Program Staff, and in delivering upon this responsibility, TGA approved vaccines offer the best possible protection in keeping our people safe, healthy and together.”
“Further, it provides our sport the opportunity to recover from the COVID-19 interruptions that have beset both the AFL and AFLW competitions in these past two years.”
The policy encouraged all people in the AFL industry to be vaccinated as soon as possible and mandated a three-stage schedule.
The first stage, already in effect in Victoria under the state government’s Authorised Worker Vaccination Mandate and requires players and football program staff of Victorian Clubs to have had their first dose now and be fully vaccinated by November 26 before they can attend their clubs to start or continue their pre-seasons.
The second stage applies to all remaining AFLW Players and AFL Football Program Staff, and the Sydney Swans and Greater Western Sydney who must have had their first vaccination dose by November 19 and be fully vaccinated by December 17 ahead of likely scheduled practice matches and the AFLW season commencing in January 2022.
And the final stage applies to players and football program staff in WA, South Australia and Queensland who must have received a first dose by January 21 next year and be fully vaccinated by February 18 in advance of likely scheduled practice matches in late February 2022 and commencement of the season in March 2022.
“Under the Policy, the scheduled dates for the stages can change by agreement between the AFL and AFLPA if there are changes in relevant Government mandates or in the COVID-19 levels in relevant States,” the statement said.