AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan expects the league to formulate a position on compulsory COVID-19 vaccinations for players and club staff by the end of this season.
McLachlan says the league will "aggressively" advocate for people in the wider community to get vaccinated but admits mandating vaccinations is a "complicated position" as the league faces resistance from the AFL Players' Association.
The two parties are working through the issue, with McLachlan hopeful of an outcome by the time the grand final is played on September 25.
"We've got to have that conversation with all the key stakeholders," McLachlan said on 3AW radio on Friday.
"We run a clear education program across the industry and all the clubs, I think, now have had that and that obviously means all of the player cohort.
"We are really strongly encouraging everyone to get vaccinated - players, staff, our community, everyone - and the decision on the final policy settings will be made, I think, probably by the end of this season."
McLachlan left no doubt about his personal view on the issue.
"We need to be vaccinated as a community to get out of this tough situation that we're in," he said.
"It's just a complicated position (with the players).
"We need to work through the process with our clubs and our players to our final settings.
"I think we're pretty strong that we need to be vaccinated but the final settings are to be worked through."
A growing list of high-profile players have already joined the vaccine push, including Collingwood's Scott Pendlebury, Richmond's Tom Lynch and Hawthorn's Chad Wingard.
Geelong's Patrick Dangerfield - the AFLPA president - and GWS captain Stephen Coniglio last month took part in a News Corp campaign to encourage people to get vaccinated.
However, while AFLPA chief executive Paul Marsh said members have been encouraged to get vaccinated, the players' union's formal stance is against making it mandatory.
Richmond chief executive Brendon Gale this week said the AFL would have to "carefully consider" taking the issue "out of the hands" of clubs and players.
"They have the scope to do some pretty powerful things, such as mandate vaccination," Gale told SEN radio on Thursday.
"We feel a responsibility (to) lead on this matter. We need to encourage people.
"All staff being vaccinated is something we will be thinking through. In terms of how, and if, we implement that is something we are thinking about."