Racing Victoria to introduce compulsory vaccination policy for participants

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Victorian racing participants will be required to get a Covid-19 jab with Racing Victoria setting partially and fully vaccinated target dates.

Racing Victoria has made Covid-19 vaccination mandatory for all staff and participants, including trainers, jockeys, stable staff and stewards, from next month.

The condition of entry will apply to all Victorian racecourses and training centres, as well as RV headquarters at Flemington and offices.

Participants must be at least partially vaccinated by Caulfield Cup Day – October 16.

It comes as two thirds (67 per cent) of participants, who completed an industry survey last week, identified as fully or partially vaccinated.

A further 15 per cent said they intended to be vaccinated, while 10 per cent remained undecided.

Eight per cent signalled their initial desire not to be vaccinated.

RV received 1590 responses to the survey sent to 3436 participants.

The Australian Trainers‘ Association, Victorian Jockeys’ Association (VJA), the three metropolitan Clubs, Country Racing Victoria and RV media businesses were all consulted on the new policy.

All RV licensed participants and staff must be fully vaccinated by November 27, bar those with a lawful exemption.

Owners wishing to access the mounting yard will also be subject to the vaccination policy.

While other major sporting codes, including the AFL and NRL, heavily promote vaccination it is not yet compulsory for athletes, coaches and game day personnel.

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RV chief executive Giles Thompson on Tuesday thanked participants for their ongoing efforts and compliance of biosecurity protocols to help racing combat the pandemic the past 18 months.

“Unlike other sports, racing operates on a year-round daily basis with a highly mobile workforce, so it is therefore imperative we do our utmost to protect the health and safety of our workforce,” Thompson said.

“The advice from our chief medical officer and our risk assessment has determined mandatory Covid-19 vaccination is the right decision for the health and safety of our staff, participants and industry.”

RV will monitor vaccination supply and retain “some” flexibility should issues arise, particularly for the younger members of the workforce.

VJA executive officer Matt Hyland said: “The vast majority of our members are already vaccinated or are on the pathway to getting it done.

“They realise the importance vaccination plays for their health, their livelihoods and to get back to doing the things they love like travelling.”

ATA boss Andrew Nicholl said: “We understand there will be individuals who will be uncomfortable with today’s announcement.

“These individuals must also acknowledge that Racing Victoria has a responsibility to protect the racing community and racing product in this state.

“There is no doubt the circumstances that exist in Victoria …. are challenging for everyone … the ATA believes the mandate announced today by RV is a responsible action at this time.”



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