Good news for potentially unvaccinated Australian Open tennis players — the tournament’s organizers have reversed their decision to impose quarantine on players and staff who might have had their anti-viral jabs. Following on the heels of Australia’s recent measles outbreak, organizers initially decided that players who had not had their jabs would be banned from competing in the tournament (but were subsequently pressured by competing medical staff to reverse the decision). The Australian anti-viral jab — called the MMR — is routinely included in parents’ vaccinations schedules and is also the most powerful preventative for measles.
Under the new policy, players who have had anti-viral injections will not be automatically excluded, and will be allowed to compete in the tournament unless their contact with friends and families is “adverse.” Some players had lobbied for an exemption for players who had been partially vaccinated or who had serious conditions that made jabs impossible (e.g. since chemotherapy). The Australian Open still stated its hope that players who had not been fully vaccinated would make up a new maximum of three percent of players. And while out-of-date equipment would be barred from the tournament, any players whose equipment is at least three years old would still be permitted to compete.
The tournament will be the first outdoor grand slam that will have included a special focus on anti-viral guidelines in the past. In 2016, tennis’ top players faced similar concerns when several players decided to skip the event. In the end, several top players came forward and said they had had their jabs, but just weren’t too keen on the idea of prepping the same week as the Olympics — which have their own culture of getting vaccinated.
Read the full story at Guardian Australia.
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