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AFL says unvaccinated players will be banned

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All AFL and AFLW players will need to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by mid-February or they will be barred from playing and training.

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The AFL has released its long-awaited vaccination policy, with clubs to ultimately determine action on staff who refuse the jab.

If players do not have a medical exemption, clubs will have options to transfer them to the inactive list, pay them no less than 25 per cent of their contracted salary, or agree to part ways.

The AFL’s vaccination schedule will be rolled out across three stages, but all players will be required to have the jab if they want to continue their playing careers.

Players in South Australia will need to have both doses by February 18.

“The uptake of AFL industry people being vaccinated has so far been extremely encouraging and we are very pleased the overwhelming majority of our players, coaches, staff members across the AFL and the 18 clubs have at the very least received their first vaccination shot,” AFL football general manager Andrew Dillon said

“Our policy delivers on our commitment to best protect our players, staff and the wider community, so we can once again unite as families, as friends, as work colleagues, as teammates, as supporters, as communities, as one.”

Adelaide’s Deni Varnhagen this week became the first known AFL or AFLW player to refuse the COVID-19 vaccination.

A registered nurse, who has worked in intensive care units, Varnhagen informed the Crows she is not yet willing to receive the jab.

Varnhagen, who played in the Crows’ 2017 and 2019 premierships, posted a video on social media on Saturday showing people marching in Adelaide for “freedom of choice”.

-with AAP

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