The jab: where do teams stand?

With the Government calling on every remaining eligible New Zealander to roll up their sleeves and get vaccinated today, sports reporter Adrian Seconi asked the region’s prominent sports teams what percentage of their players and staff were vaccinated, and if they were encouraging the jab.

Let's start here.

There are three of us in the Otago Daily Times sport department and we have had five jabs between us.

It would have been six but our editor had to reschedule as he was unwell the day he was due to get his first shot. He will join the fully vaccinated very soon, so we count him as a moral victory.

We have declared our position, but most sports teams we cover are unable to be as transparent.

But while there has been some ducking and weaving around privacy issues, there remains a genuine commitment to encour aging everyone in their organisation to get vaccinated.

We asked our region’s major sporting teams what percentage of their players and staff had been vaccinated and whether they were encouraging or demanding people to be vaccinated.

Richard Kinley
Richard Kinley
Otago Rugby Football Union general manager Richard Kinley said he had difficulty answering the questions ‘‘as at this stage it is not mandatory for staff and players to be vaccinated and also they are not required to advise if they have been vaccinated’’.

‘‘We are certainly encouraging everyone to be vaccinated and will be pushing the same message through our social media channels this weekend.’’

Kinley pointed the Otago Daily Times towards a response from New Zealand Rugby to a similar set of questions.

‘‘Any Covid-19 vaccination information that is collected by the provincial union needs to be stored securely in a password protected location, to protect the personal health information of that individual.

‘‘However, in time NZR may want some assurance from Provincial Unions that their players have been vaccinated.

‘‘This is because if any player is selected for Super Rugby Pacific or any of our national teams in Black, we would want to know those players have been fully vaccinated before they travel overseas.

 ‘‘In those situations, proof of vaccination status will need to be provided.’’

Roger Clark
Roger Clark
The Highlanders were constrained by the same privacy concerns, but chief executive Roger Clark said as a sporting organisation ‘‘we encourage everyone including our staff, players and fans to take the opportunity — if they haven’t already — to get vaccinated this Super Saturday’’.

Otago Cricket Association chief executive Mike Coggan was on annual leave and unable to respond by our deadline.

Football South was encouraging staff, players and the wider community to get vaccinated.

But ‘‘with respect to the privacy of our staff and players, we do not wish to disclose a percentage of staff and player vaccination rates,’’ it stated.

Lana Winders. PHOTO: ODT FILES
Lana Winders. PHOTO: ODT FILES
Netball South chief executive Lana Winders said the organisation supported vaccinations.

“We are following Government advice with regards to what that means in terms of the workplace and community sport,’’ Winders said.

‘‘We will continue to work closely with Netball New Zealand and Sport New Zealand around the latest health advice leading into the 2022 ANZ Premiership season.

“As an organisation, we are actively encouraging vaccination in line with Government health advice to the support the wellbeing of all employees and their families.

‘‘However, the disclosure of medical information and vaccine status was an individual’s choice.’’

The Dunedin Thunder was more forthcoming.

The team’s marketing mana ger Megan Kliegl said an initial survey suggested  ‘‘60% of the athletes are fully vaccinated, and 30% awaiting their second dose’’.

‘‘A few athletes have not completed the survey or have stated they do not wish to share this information at this stage.

‘‘Staff surveys indicate tha 80% have had either had 1 or 2 doses with the remaining 20% not completing the survey.

‘‘As we are now out of season, our athletes are released... more discussion about vaccin ations will take place early 2022.

‘‘But we are encouraging our athletes to get vaccinated and are happy with survey results.’’

Nuggets general manager Angela Ruske said the franchise did not have a specific policy in place and would take its lead from the National Basketball League. However, it was sup portive of vaccination.

‘‘With regard to players — my understanding is that the 2021 team all got [vaccinated] at the beginning of this season.

‘‘I haven’t specifically heard back from Geremy [McKay] or Isaiah [Moss] to know if that included them but I believe it did.’’



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