New South Wales health minister Brad Hazzard told the NRL to “stick to the deal” as debate continues around the flu vaccination.
The Gold Coast Titans announced on Friday that Bryce Cartwright and Brian Kelly had been stood down after refusing to get a flu shot.
The NRL is planning to resume its season on May 28 amid the coronavirus pandemic, but authorities are pushing for players to get a flu vaccine.
Hazzard hit out at anti-vaccination attitudes and said the NRL needed to stick to the deal it had agreed with governments.
“I am extremely frustrated generally at anti-vaxxers and the message they send out. It’s just plain stupid and dangerous,” he told a news conference on Saturday.
“If we listen to their messages, we’d still have polio rife in our community. If they’ve got a short-term memory all they need to do is look to one of our pacific neighbours [Samoa], who had a massive breakout of measles and a very high death rate just literally a few months ago.
“I have no tolerance or time for those views, but I’d also say this, in regard to NRL, whilst I do want to see Manly win whatever competition starts up, my advice to the NRL would be you gave certain undertakings to the community and to the government about the basis for recommencement and you have to make sure through your contractural arrangements or other arrangements with the players that you stick to the deal. Simple as that.”
Hazzard said that as far as he was aware, the NRL had agreed that players would get a flu vaccination before playing.
“My understanding is that that was certainly what was explained to the NRL,” he said.
“And the NRL have to make sure that they, through their contractural arrangements with their players, deliver but that’s a matter for the NRL.”
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