Is Djokovic’s Grand Slam absence due to missing vaccine?

The Australian Open, the year’s first Grand Slam tennis tournament, said on Friday that injured Novak Djokovic had not received adequate vaccinations, something that could rule him out of the tournament at Melbourne Park,…

Is Djokovic’s Grand Slam absence due to missing vaccine?

The Australian Open, the year’s first Grand Slam tennis tournament, said on Friday that injured Novak Djokovic had not received adequate vaccinations, something that could rule him out of the tournament at Melbourne Park, which begins in less than two weeks.

In a post to the tournament’s official site, it was announced that Djokovic “was not immunized prior to and during the 2016 men’s grand slam so may not have been fully protected.”

This is, of course, not the first time a top athlete’s story has been scrutinized in this regard. A spokesman for Australia’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the body that created the vaccine requirement, told Reuters this week that, while the National Tennis Center in Melbourne was required to “guarantee all players their current immunization status,” only players who had been vaccinated at least 10 years ago were allowed to enter this year’s tournament. “We’re continuing to work with tennis authorities, medical staff, and as soon as it’s been confirmed that they’ve been notified of their immunization status,” he said.

Medical officials at the NTC told AFP on Thursday that the deferral was out of respect for Djokovic, saying he had “previously received three injections before participating in the first set of each match,” which “prepared him for his matches.” But this did not appear to be the case as long ago.

The statement in Friday’s Australian Open post read that all players at the tournament are required to receive all three types of the Ibrutinib vaccine, with the final injection at age 18. “Officials at the Australian Open have confirmed that while Djokovic has been vaccinated before each tournament, he has not been vaccinated before and during that time he hasn’t received three doses of the Ibrutinib vaccine.” The statement said no athlete was allowed to enter if they had not received three doses.

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