Calls to ban AFL fans from games if they don't have a Covid vaccine

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A top AFL boss has said fans of the sport can expect to be barred from attending games if they haven’t rolled up their sleeve for a Covid vaccine. 

Tony Shepherd, chairman of the GWS Giants, said fans should follow in the footsteps of the western Sydney football club and waste no time getting jabbed. 

Mr Shepherd said he has been encouraging Giants players and officials to get inoculated, as NSW marked the halfway point to the 80 per cent vaccination mark on Sunday. 

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‘I’m a firm believer in vaccinations being required for people to attend events,’ he told the Herald Sun

‘Whether that be at restaurants, bars, sporting events, hospitality or getting on planes or going overseas.

‘I see it as the answer … we are certainly promoting it at the Giants.’

The AFL boss predicts the league will soon ramp-up its messaging around vaccinations after the industry was chastised for not advocating the jab enough. 

Mr Shepherd – who also has ties with the NSW events industry – said his players have appeared in promotional campaigns for both the Ministry of Sport and Health. 

He described getting a Covid vaccine as ‘the solution to getting on with life’ and said from both an AFL and Venues NSW perspective the mandate was a no-brainer. 

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The boss said proof of inoculation could be demonstrated by using a QR code that revealed spectators’ proof of identity as well as their vaccine status. 

He also suggested proof of a jab could be required when fans bought tickets for a game, meaning only vaccinated patrons could enter stadiums. 

‘We will see what the government will do in establishing something, but other countries are doing it … it’s not that hard,’ Mr Shepherd said. 

His comments come after Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced the state is halfway to its target of having 80 per cent of the eligible population fully-jabbed. 

The state leader has previously promised hitting this target will ease Covid lockdown restrictions and see Covid-19 treated like the flu. 

With the herd immunity of 80 per cent jabbed, state and international borders can open and allow residents a long-awaited return to normal life.  

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The premier offered an insight into what life will look like when that hits 70 per cent, indicating there would be density limits in hospitality venues and QR codes when businesses reopened.

Capacity limits on large events will be maintained to ensure compliance with social distancing requirements.

Any double-jabbed Australians returning home from overseas would also be eligible for at-home quarantine rather than in a government-run facility, Ms Berejiklian said. 

‘The planning has already started, to see what life was like for Aussies coming home when they are fully vaccinated,’ she said.

‘We still need some form of quarantine, whether it is in the future for international students, skilled labour

‘But as far as Australians are concerned, if you are fully vaccinated with a credible vaccine, you should be allowed to quarantine at home and that is a transition we will be making.’

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And, most importantly, once the 80 per cent double jab target is reached, NSW will ‘never have to do a statewide lockdown ever again’, the premier promised.

A state-wide vaccination mandate for health workers was recently announced in a bid to protect the health of staff and patients in state hospitals. 

Healthcare workers will now be required to have at least one dose of the vaccine by September 30, and to be fully immunised or be booked in for their second jab by November 30 to continue working.

Among staff working for NSW Health, 20 per cent are still unvaccinated, despite having priority access in the Covid-19 vaccination rollout since February. 

Healthcare staff must provide proof of their vaccination status to their employer by September 30 or face losing their jobs. 

It comes as Qantas also made vaccination mandatory, requiring all of its 22,000 employees to be fully immunised against Covid-19 earlier this week.

Cabin crew, pilots and airport workers must receive both jabs by November 15 with the remainder of workers to be vaccinated by March 31 next year.

‘Having a fully vaccinated workforce will safeguard our people against the virus but also protect our customers and the communities we fly to,’ said Qantas Chief Executive Officer Alan Joyce.

As part of the national airline’s commitment to safety Mr Joyce has ‘strongly encouraged’ all staff to get jabbed, even offering paid time off to receive the vaccine. 

More than 20.6 million doses of vaccine have been administered across Australia since the pandemic began.

In NSW, 40.3 per cent of the eligible population are fully vaccinated, while 72.7 per cent have received their first jab.

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