Jan 26 (Reuters) – Australian Cricketers’ Association (ACA) Chairman Greg Dyer said it would not be “morally defensible” for athletes to be given priority access to a COVID-19 vaccine ahead of higher risk groups.
With Australia to begin its vaccine rollout in February, local media have reported Cricket Australia asked for the test squad to be vaccinated before they tour South Africa, which is battling a highly infectious variant of the virus.
Australia are due to play three tests in South Africa in March, though no venues or dates have been fixed.
“My personal view is that sportspeople should not be jumping the queue,” Dyer told the Sydney Morning Herald.
“It’s the wrong look. There are more important people out there with much higher levels of exposure who need the vaccines first.”
Dyer said biosecurity protocols in place should be strict enough to ensure players do not require the vaccine.
“Sports need to build protocols which don’t require vaccines and we’ve been able to,” Dyer said. “It’s not morally defensible for sportspeople to jump the queue.”
The National Rugby League is also hoping its players receive the vaccine with the new season set to kick off in March. Australian Rugby League Chairman Peter V’landys said he would be putting a case forward to the government for players to be included in the third phase of the rollout.
“Emergency workers have got to get it first and the most vulnerable,” V’Landys said. “Who is after that? Well, that’s where we come in.” (Reporting by Arvind Sriram in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford )
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