THE AFL has today written to clubs to formally advise an update to the AFL’s vaccination requirements in which the AFL will move, consistent with the directions of respective State and Territory Governments, from a mandate requiring first and second vaccine doses to ‘strongly encouraging’ all AFL and AFLW Players and AFL industry people to have an “up to date” COVID-19 vaccination status which includes all recommended booster shots.

Under the original policies introduced last year, again consistent with the directions of respective State and Territory Governments, the AFL adopted a mandate that required all players and others in the industry to be “fully vaccinated” (i.e. first and second doses) on a progressive schedule.

After an extensive review that has included consultation with AFL People (staff), AFLPA, Umpires, AFL Clubs and a further risk assessment undertaken with input from the AFL’s Chief Medical Officer, the AFL remains strongly of the view that vaccinations (including recommended booster shots) are the best form of defense in minimising the impacts of COVID-19 – but not as a standalone solution.

The AFL will continue to assist and guide clubs in providing best possible preventative environments where required including the ongoing use of COVID-19 testing and hygiene practices as detailed in our COVID-19 protocols.

The updated position comes into play from today, Thursday 14 July 2022.

In light of AFL vaccination requirements now being revised, those players who were not fully vaccinated and ineligible to play and departed their clubs as a result may now seek to re-enter the AFL or AFLW system pursuant to the list management rules applicable to AFL and AFLW respectively. AFLW players who were not vaccinated but remained as inactive listed players, are now eligible to be re-introduced into the Season Seven pre-season training.

As part of these changes, vaccination mandates previously applying to the VFL and VFLW as well as Talent Pathway Competitions will also be immediately withdrawn.

AFL EGM Football Andrew Dillon said the AFL continued to be led by respective governments, while ensuring best practice continues to be applied in preventive measures amongst the on-going pandemic.

“The health and safety of our players, staff and the wider community has been one of the guiding principles governing the AFL’s ongoing response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.” Mr Dillon said. 

“Our AFL industry has continued to adapt to the circumstances in front of us, and while we have removed the mandatory vaccine mandate, we still maintain the view that vaccinations are the best form of defense in minimizing the impacts of COVID with the focus now on keeping “up to date” with all recommended boosters.

“We will continue to monitor the COVID situation as it evolves. If we need to adjust over the coming weeks and months, we will do so in consultation with the respective Governments and medical professionals. 

“As an industry we are committed to providing a safe environment for all our people and doing what we can to reduce the risk and impact of transmission of COVID-19 within the community.” 

AFLPA CEO Paul Marsh said The AFLPA has agreed to a revised COVID-19 Vaccination Policy in line with recent changes to government requirements and advice.” 

“Our position has always been that should governments revise their positions, this policy should be amended to reflect any changes. 

“The AFLPA reiterates our belief in the importance of vaccination and strongly encourages players, and the industry, to stay up to date with their COVID-19 vaccinations to protect themselves, their family and the community and are proud of the players’ collective efforts so far.”