Manly star Dylan Walker is the latest NRL player to publicly challenge the government in the flu shot debate.
After the NRL returned to training on Monday, the competition was then met with backlash from a number of its stars who voiced their displeasure at receiving a flu shot as part of the league’s plan to return on May 28 amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Titans on Friday stood down Bryce Cartwright, Bryan Kelly and Nathan Peats after the NRL ruled that all 32 players and 18 staff in their “bubble” must receive a flu vaccination. Peats subsequently agreed to have a flu shot.
Although not taking up an allegiance with anti-vaxxers, Walker took to social media to express his concerns surrounding “freedom of choice” and how society can change in the future if too much is given up now.
“We are all entitled and have a right to choose to deal with our health in ways that feel right to us uniquely. We are not all the same, and not all the same things work for everyone,” Walker wrote on Instagram.
“Whether you want to approach a headache with some rest, or with a tablet, is up to you. Whether you want to inject a vaccine or not, is up to you. Whether you eat certain foods or not, is up to you.
“Some things are more controversial than others, but that does not mean that everyone should be forced, expected or coerced to do the same thing. Health means something different to us all.
“Advice, even if it’s from one medical professional, is just that, advice.
“Another medical professional may give you different advice. What you choose to do with your own body is up to you. No one should encroach on your bodily autonomy.”
“It is our individual responsibility to self-educate, gather various opinions and find solutions that work for ourselves and our families. It is our individual responsibility to ensure that our right to choose is never taken away.
“I am not anti-anything. I am not giving medical advice. I am standing for freedom to choose and to make decisions for our own bodies.
“The freedoms we give away now, will become the standards our future generations will have to abide by.”
Earlier today, New South Wales health minister Brad Hazzard declared he’s “frustrated” with anti-vaxxers over the messages they send out.
“I am extremely frustrated generally at anti-vaxxers and the message they send out. It’s just plain stupid and dangerous,” Hazzard told reporters.
“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.”