Vaccination limbo: FNRL boss raises concern

FNRL CEO Don Natabe. Picture: MAIKELI SERU

The acting chief executive officer of Fiji National Rugby League is scratching his head albeit with both hands at the total lack of apathy on the part of affiliated clubs to the mandatory vaccination exercise.

Don Natabe said it was disappointing to note a huge number of football players showing immense disregard of Government directives to get fully vaccinated with both doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine until date.

“It’s worrying,” he said.

“At the moment we have yet to get confirmation on 95 per cent of the clubs on the status regarding the vaccination of their respective officials and players.

“It’s a very big concern for us because the intended resumption of the sport of rugby league post-second wave of COVID-19 depends entirely on the number of fully vaccinated players including the respective team’s management.”

The newfound plight to convince athletes and club management to get vaccinated prompted the Sabeto native to plead with all rugby league club administrators in contacting the FNRL pertaining to the actual number of participants, who have complied with the vaccination program.

“Returning to playing the sport we love is a top priority for FNRL but in a safe manner pertaining to the protective measures in place by the Ministry of Health as designed in the framework with vaccination being a key component.

“The potential physical and mental health benefits by engaging in higher physical activity levels when playing the sport will be significant for participants, who have been greatly impacted with a five-month lull.

“Signs are troubling enough for the FNRL and I am pleading with all the relevant stakeholders, including the fans associated with the sport to get both shots of the vaccine so that we can enjoy the beautiful game again.

“Please, get both jabs because the FNRL backs the ‘vax’.

“Hats off to Sigatoka-based Laselase Cowboys, a 40-member squad with a 100 per cent first dose and 50 per cent fully vaccinated record and they have stated to complete their remainder of shots by mid-October. “I am so pleased with their efforts and plead with other clubs to follow suit.”

All sporting and recreational activities abruptly halted during the emergence of a second wave of COVID-19 in the country earlier in April and the successful launch of a “resumption to sports and recreational activities” framework, which has a three level traffic light alert system last week would be the topic with all the national sports organisations.

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