New South Wales State of Origin coach Brad Fittler has delivered a hilarious take on the NRL's flu jab debate that left Karl Stefanovic in hysterics.
The rugby league legend was speaking about the divisive flu vaccination issue on Channel Nine's Today Show on Wednesday morning.
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The NRL has allowed a small group of players who've refused the flu vaccination to sign a waiver that allows them to train and play.
However, the Queensland government has taken a more hardline stance, banning any NRL players from partaking in games in the state unless they've had the flu shot.
In a setback for the NRL ahead of their May 28 restart, Queensland's Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young said on Tuesday players would only receive vaccination exemptions on medical grounds.
The Queensland government's "no jab, no play" stance is bad news for Gold Coast duo Bryce Cartwright and Brian Kelly who have been stood down after rejecting the jab.
Fittler said he respected the decision from the Titans pair, but implored them to look at the bigger picture.
— The Today Show (@TheTodayShow) May 12, 2020
“What is going to happen over the next couple of weeks is their beliefs are going to be really tested,” Fittler told Channel Nine.
“They’re going to have a pay day coming up soon and mightn’t get paid.
“So I respect their decision, but I think it’s a bit crazy for them not to go in and get the flu jab.”
Fittler's next argument about rugby league players putting worse things into their bodies than flu vaccine, left Stefanvic and his Today Show colleagues in stitches.
“Absolutely [they should get it] ... we’ve put a lot of bad things into our bodies and I can’t imagine the old flu shot’s gonna do too much detriment!”
On the back of Queensland's stance, the NRL may now be tempted to avoid scheduling games in Queensland for the teams who will be most affected by their players' anti-vaccination stance - Canberra and Manly.
Exemptions only given to players on medical grounds
Overall about 20 players have signed a waiver to avoid a flu jab for various reasons.
ARL Commission chairman Peter V'landys had been confident the Queensland government would accept their biosecurity guidelines that would allow NRL players to sign a waiver to refuse the vaccination.
It would have cleared Cartwright and Kelly to return to training after they were sidelined following the Queensland government's intervention.
But Young said she had told the NRL they would only provide medical exemptions for players.
"I sent a letter to the NRL yesterday (that said) if they have got medical reasons for not being vaccinated (they will receive an exemption)," she said.
"If they have had an anaphylactic reaction to previous flu vaccine or any component of a flu vaccine, you do not need to be vaccinated so I have provided that exemption.
"Although the NRL did not put that in their initial submission to me I thought it was reasonable that the NRL players, support staff, coaches and officials have that same exemption that I provide for visitors going into aged-care facilities or for children."
Asked if players could receive an exemption on any other grounds, Young said: "That's not covered".
Cartwright and Kelly are the only NRL players to have been stood down after the NSW government refused to adopt Queensland's "no jab, no play" stance.