Written by By Laura Zuckerman, CNN
“We’ve been advised that no unvaccinated players will be competing in this year’s Australian Open.”
That’s the message from Victoria state Premier Daniel Andrews, who told journalists Friday at an event in Melbourne that he has communicated that decision to tennis federation administrators.
Speaking at the launch of the Australian Open, Andrews used it as an opportunity to address a steady stream of measles outbreaks in Melbourne and other parts of Australia this year. He noted that 95% of eligible residents in the state had been vaccinated.
“We’re the world’s sixth-largest economy, and we think it would be a good idea to have a number of unvaccinated people fly to an island off the east coast of Australia, which is what the Grand Slams are about,” he said, referring to sporting events such as the Australian Open.
“We shouldn’t be doing it,” Andrews said. “We’re Australians, and we like to think that we’re a society that believes in protecting public health, and most of the people of this state want to travel to sporting events together and use them for good. That’s what’s important.
“And so I’m really conscious of the message that I’m sending out in terms of the beliefs of other people, and not how Australia stands as a great country. I think the last thing we want to do is send a message that we are putting aside our global leadership on these important public health issues because of some of the things that occur in our own backyard.”
The anti-vaccination movement is led by a small fringe of fringe ideologues who believe vaccinations cause autism and other illnesses, despite this being widely disproved. Recent studies have added to the science demonstrating that vaccines are highly effective and safe.
As a result, American Measles cases have doubled in the past five years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And these numbers are dwarfed by the number of people in the developing world who are too poor to get vaccinated, resulting in unvaccinated people catching measles and measles-related complications.