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AFL premiership star says mandatory vaccines ‘ethically wrong’ as AFLW player tests positive

Melbourne Demons premiership star Tom McDonald is strongly against mandatory vaccinations for AFL players, saying the move would be “ethically wrong”.

Key points:

  • McDonald said he was vaccinated and would have no issue playing against an unvaccinated player
  • The AFL is yet to complete its vaccination policy, but the state government requires them to get the jab
  • His comments come as reports emerge that Adelaide Crows AFLW player Deni Varnhagen is not willing to get the vaccine

As the league finalises its vaccination policy, Adelaide AFLW player Deni Varnhagen, who is a registered nurse, reportedly has told the Crows she is not willing to have a COVID-19 shot.

Richmond have also confirmed an AFLW player has tested positive to COVID-19.

The AFL is yet to finalise a vaccination policy but the Victorian government’s requirement about a range of workers, including footballers, needing to be vaccinated or have a booking, came into effect last Friday.

“I’m vaccinated and most players would have been, but … it’s ethically wrong to force people to [have] a medical procedure,” McDonald told Channel Nine.

The key forward said he supported mandatory jabs for people who worked in frontline healthcare roles or aged care, but not the AFL.

“We’re on track — we would have gotten 90 per cent of the state — and I don’t see why we needed to cause such issues and division by forcing people in many jobs where it’s probably not as necessary,” he said.

McDonald said he would happily play against an unvaccinated opponent.

“That’s why you get vaccinated, to protect yourself. I don’t understand why we need to force other players,” he said.