Notorious antivaxer Novak Djokovic, has been give a “medical exemption” to enter Australia to play in the Australian Open tennis competition. Australia has only just opened up to overseas entrants with strict vaccination conditions. There are medical exemptions but the only relevant one to Djokovic is that he had a positive PCR test within the last 6 months. That would mean he has been infected by SARS-CoV-2 twice, the first time in 2020
BELGRADE, Serbia -- Top-ranked tennis player Novak Djokovic announced Tuesday that he and his wife have COVID-19 after he played in a series of exhibition matches he organized in Serbia and Croatia with zero social distancing amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Applications for a medical exemption to enter Australia without vaccinating include having a sertious heart disease or if there was a life-threatening reaction to a first vaccine dose. Applications are apparently examined by two panels including one of medical experts.
Djokovic had expressed some very ascientific atitudes in April 2020-
In April, Djokovic said he would be against setting coronavirus immunization as a condition for return to the tour. “Personally, I am opposed to vaccination, and I wouldn’t want to be forced by someone to take a vaccine in order to be able to travel,” he told a group of Serbian players in a live Facebook chat. Later, in defending those comments, he said: “I am no expert, but I do want to have an option to choose what’s best for my body. I am keeping an open mind, and I’ll continue to research on this topic.” Over the course of the next month, Djokovic hosted a series of Instagram Live conversations with Chervin Jafarieh, a man who says he can “use the scientific method to create alchemy.” In the video, Djokovic claimed that toxic food and polluted water could be cleansed “through the power of gratitude.”
There is of course no suggestion that the official panels would in any way ignore Australia’s entry conditions under commercial pressure from the tennis authorities to enable their #1 to play and increase the TV audience. Such an ideal would be of great concern to Australians who have suffered lockdowns and isolation, particularly those caught abroad when the restrictions came in. They had to pay and wait for a quarantine hotel place.
One must also feel sympathy for Mr Djokovic for catching COVID twice. One has to hope his second infection caused a mild disease athough given the timing it could well have been Delta. Unfortunately his novel alternative to double vaccination, double infection, will not provide antibodies to protect him from infection by the Omicron variant. Recent reseach out of South Africa shows that antibodies from Delta infection do not kill Omicron. Instead the body’s memory T and B cells have to provide protection and generate new Omicron specific antibodies. These can react but the cold-like “breakthough” infections are fairly common. Double vaccination and a booster seems to provide better protection than from natural infection.
So don’t be an ignorant Djok, get that booster and keep taking precautions.