Australian Open 2022: Multi-step review for tennis players seeking a medical exemption from the Covid-19 vaccination

Tennis players wanting to dodge Covid-19 vaccination and receive a medical exemption to compete at the Australian Open now know the process they need to follow.

Australian Open tennis tournament chief Craig Tiley speaks during a press conference on day five of the event in Melbourne on February 12, 2021, after Melbourne was ordered into a snap five-day lockdown, with fans banned and players to compete in a biosecure "bubble". (Photo by Saeed KHAN / AFP) / -- IMAGE RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - STRICTLY NO COMMERCIAL USE --
Australian Open tennis tournament chief Craig Tiley speaks during a press conference on day five of the event in Melbourne on February 12, 2021, after Melbourne was ordered into a snap five-day lockdown, with fans banned and players to compete in a biosecure "bubble". (Photo by Saeed KHAN / AFP) / -- IMAGE RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - STRICTLY NO COMMERCIAL USE --

Any Australian Open-bound tennis stars seeking an exemption from the Covid-19 vaccination will need to convince two separate panels of medical experts.

The Victorian Department of Health and Tennis Australia finalised their protocols around the virus on Thursday after debate in recent weeks.

Premier Dan Andrews proposed last week for TA to get involved in the review process if any tennis players sought to dodge the vaccination process and receive an exemption.

Instead, an expert panel of doctors from the fields of immunology, infectious disease and general practice will first review applications for a medical exemption.

Tennis Australia chief executive Craig Tiley (left) has finalised the Covid-19 protocols for next month’s Australian Open with the Victorian Government. Picture: Michael Klein
Tennis Australia chief executive Craig Tiley (left) has finalised the Covid-19 protocols for next month’s Australian Open with the Victorian Government. Picture: Michael Klein

Applications that meet the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) national guidelines will then be subject to a second review.

A government-appointed panel of medical experts, the Independent Medical Exemption Review Panel, will oversee this review.

If the second panel deems the medical exemption appropriate and in line with the ATAGI guidelines, it will be submitted to the Australian Immunisation Register.

Personal information will be redacted to ensure privacy for all applicants.

Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley said the multi-step review process was designed to ensure the safety of everyone at the event.

Players, staff and fans will need to be fully vaccinated unless there is a genuine reason for an exemption.

“We’ve worked closely with the Victorian Government to establish fair and independent protocols for assessing medical exemption applications that will enable us to ensure Australian Open 2022 is safe and enjoyable for everybody,” Tiley said.

Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley says players, staff and fans need to be fully vaccinated to attend Melbourne Park. Picture: Getty Images
Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley says players, staff and fans need to be fully vaccinated to attend Melbourne Park. Picture: Getty Images

“Central to this process is that the decisions will be made by independent medical experts and that every applicant gets due consideration.”

Minister for Tourism and Major Events Martin Pakula said the Victorian Government worked closely with Tennis Australia to establish the exemption review process.

“I am very pleased that there is a rigorous process around the consideration of any medical exemptions for the Australian Open,” Pakula said.

France’s Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Australian teenager Olivia Gadecki – who was a strong wildcard contender – withdrew from the Australian Open because neither wants to be vaccinated.

Originally published as Australian Open 2022: Multi-step review for tennis players seeking a medical exemption from the Covid-19 vaccination

Add your comment to this story

To join the conversation, please Don't have an account? Register

Join the conversation, you are commenting as Logout