AFLW player Deni Varnhagen has publicly spoken out about refusing to get a Covid-19 vaccination.
The Adelaide Crows defender, who also works as an ICU and anaesthetics nurse, among hundreds of ralliers outside of the Channel 9 studio in Adelaide’s CBD.
They were protesting against the compulsory healthcare worker jab that came into effect on Monday.
Under the directions, all healthcare workers needed to have at least one Covid-19 vaccination by November 1 to continue working in their field.
Varnhagen held a sign that read “I (love) being a nurse” and “coercion is not consent”.
The premiership player told reporters her sign was “pretty self explanatory”.
“No one should be at threat of losing their jobs if they don’t enter a medical experiment,” she told 7 News.
“It’s (Covid-19 vaccines) in its trial phase. It’s only been provisionally approved.”
She said she was scared for herself and all other nurses who didn’t want the vaccine who faced losing their jobs.
“We’re all terrified. We love working,” she said
“Once they finish attacking us, they’re attacking police and they’re just going to keep attacking different fields of work, which isn’t right.
“Everyone should have the right to choose what enters their body … and where there is risk there should be choice.”
Varnhagen was asked if she feared losing her job with the Adelaide Crows but said she was at the protest as a healthcare worker, not as an AFLW player, and didn’t want to comment about her other profession.
Crows AFLW senior coach Matthew Clarke on Friday said Varnhagen was “working through her situation” and was in the process of gathering information about the vaccine.
He said it was her decision to make and the club would respect that decision.
“It’s challenging because we’re dealing with people’s personal medical situations,” Clarke said.
“From a club’s perspective, we’ve been really clear. We’re promoting everyone to get vaccinated and personally it’s my position as well.
“I think it’s important for us as a community. It’s a part of how we’re managing this whole situation and as an industry it’s critical because our business is about bringing people together.”
He said the playing squad, with the exception of one player, was fully, partially or in the process of getting vaccinated.
The Adelaide Crows issued a statement in October after reports that Varnhagen resisted getting the jab, saying it supported the AFL’s Covid-19 requirements and would continue to follow the health advice issued by the government.
“Our club strongly encourages people to get vaccinated and we will work through the league’s requirements with our players, coaches and staff ahead of the upcoming AFLW and AFL seasons,” the club said.
Varnhagen was picked up by the Crows in the 2016 draft.
She played every game for the club in her first three years, which included the two premierships.
She won the Crows’ best defensive player award in 2019.