Daniel Andrews backs anti-vax sentiments as Novak Djokovic pulls out of US Open

Victoria’s new sports minister says he does not support Australia’s mandatory vaxetisation campaign in the wake of Novak Djokovic’s withdrawal from the US Open with an “undiagnosed” blood disorder.

Djokovic was diagnosed with the illness on Friday and has pulled out of the US Open before his fifth-round match against John Millman on Saturday.

The 12-time grand slam champion said his trip to a specialist in Europe had found he had an autoimmune disorder that causes immune system dysfunction.

Two days later, Victoria’s premier Daniel Andrews defended mandatory immunisation laws but also cast doubt on them.

“At some stage it becomes one size fits all and it drives individual doctors crazy that every parent chooses whether their child gets an immunisation,” Andrews said on Sunday.

Daniel Andrews hits back at Novak Djokovic over flu jab scare Read more

“You can see how the concept of an Australian Vax has got to at least consider other options.”

Djokovic was unlikely to have received the vaccine, because his doctors found the symptoms of the disorder coincided with when he had not received the jab, an Australian tennis doctor said.

Andrews said he did not support mandatory immunisation because it increased “opinion and it increases political pressure to have a debate about certain things”.

“The ultimate outcome is that if someone has a nervous or immune reaction to vaccines, their child isn’t vaccinated,” Andrews said.

But Andrews said he did not support the child being “forced” to receive the vaccine in case their parents chose not to.

“We haven’t seen that in any actual cases that I know of, but the possibility exists,” Andrews said.

Djokovic pulled out of the tournament amid reports the Australian Open organisers could not guarantee he would be fit in time for January’s grand slam.

“I received the first diagnosis from my doctors,” he said in a statement on Sunday. “They discovered I have an ‘undiagnosed’ blood disorder. As a result, I am pulling out of the US Open. I hope to be back on court soon.”

While Djokovic has not required a cardiologist, reports have he may be unwell as a result of the varicella zoster virus, which typically causes chicken pox in childhood, and rectal infections, which can cause scarring and bacterial colon disease.

Another possible medical explanation for the red blood cell and white blood cell depletion has been the inflammatory reaction to recent injury.

Victoria’s new sports minister, Matthew Guy, said he supported anti-vax vaccine campaigners and suggested their case might have more merit.

“I understand the fears of many parents, and the pressure to protect children from vaccine side effects such as autism and sudden infant death syndrome,” Guy said in a statement.

“But mandatory vaccination laws simply do not account for the probability that parents would opt out for very valid reasons.”

Guy said the “Vaxxed” campaigners’ campaign has “certainly generated a conversation”.

In the lead-up to Friday’s US Open, Djokovic’s management team made statements on social media under the hashtag #VaxNovak that said he did not consider vaccines to be safe. Djokovic’s defeat against Fernando Verdasco on Thursday night made it three grand slam finals in a row where the Serbian star has bowed out early.

Leave a Comment