Yesterday we heard on the news, that the NRL (National Rugby League) boss wants to petition the Australian Government to prioritise footballers ahead of some other Australians for the COVID-19 vaccine.
On the Australian Government Health website, there is a public list of how the government is prioritising people ahead of the roll out, which will hopefully begin towards the end of February. Quite rightly, phase 1a includes quarantine and border workers, healthcare workers (frontline), aged care and disability support staff, and aged care and disability residents.
If you have a look at the schedule, then most footballers would automatically fall into phase 2b – basically healthy adult Australians under 50.
For some reason, the boss of the NRL feels that footballers should come before others – because – football. Some of you may have seen my previous couple of posts talking about politics and sport. I was a bit critical of the seeming preference for providing exceptional circumstances for sports people. (Well, quite critical, actually.)
Look, I make a chunk of my living from damaged sports people – I’m a physiotherapist. My husband loves football. But really? How entitled does someone have to be to think that in a pandemic, playing football makes you more important than more vulnerable people.
There’s a quote from the article I’ve linked above. “It troubles me a little bit that the loudest and most privileged are able to get this kind of attention, but I hope the government will be considering these requests in a fair and equitable way.” Professor Julie Leask was trying to be diplomatic.
I’m not really feeling that way, myself. I mean, why? It’s a pandemic. The sense of entitlement must be huge if you think football makes someone more valuable in a pandemic than say…a fifty year old person who cleans for a living, or a school teacher perhaps, or maybe even someone who operates public transport, or a farmer. I mean, a farmer only provides us with food…
This really makes me feel hot under the collar. When I look at the phased roll out, I can see easily where my own family sits:
My parents: (92 and 87) Phase 1a.
Myself: Phase 1b (healthcare worker)
Son: Critical and high risk worker.
Husband: Phase 2a (as per age group)
Daughter: Phase 2b (as per age group)
Would I like us all vaccinated sooner? Yes I would. Is that going to happen? No. This is reality. This is prioritisation based on need, and prevention of illness and death – most vulnerable first. Footballers really don’t come into that category. Officially, they’d sit at 2a and that’s where they should stay.