Ah, Fuck: An AFLW Player (And Nurse) Is The First Footballer To Go Public With Vaccine Hesitancy

aflw deni varnhagen adelaide crows vaccine

Adelaide Crows premiership player Deni Varnhagen has become the first known player in the league to be publicly hesitant about getting a COVID-19 vaccine, after she notified the club that she’d not decided whether she was willing to get the jab ahead of the next AFLW season.

As reported by The Advertiser on Monday, the 28-year-old two-time premiership midfielder is the only person on the Crows’ AFLW squad who hasn’t either been fully or partially vaccinated. It also reported that she has told the club that she has not yet been able to make an informed choice on whether to have the vaccine.

At the time of writing, it’s not currently mandatory for South Australian AFL and AFLW players to be vaccinated, but the Adelaide Football Club “strongly encourages people to be vaccinated against COVID-19”.

According to her Instagram, Varnhagen is also an ICU and anaesthetics nurse in Adelaide, and her stories highlight uploaded over the weekend includes a video from a freedom march in the South Australian capital, which she captioned with “thousands marching for Freedom of Choice!”.

A second video in the same Instagram highlight shows her holding a sign on a pizza box that reads “Heath care hero’s (sic) in 2020… UnVaxed UnWanted in 2021…”

Victorian players come under the state government health mandate that requires all essential workers to have had at least one jab by last Friday (October 15), and must be fully-vaccinated by November 26.

It’s not clear what this means for the upcoming AFLW season – which is due to kick off on January 6 – but there may be some serious disruptions until the AFL makes an official league decision regarding vaccination mandates for all clubs, which currently stretch across Queensland, NSW, Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia.

We have reached out to Deni for comment, and did not hear back at the time of publishing. According to The Advertiser, Varnhagen has previously said she’s not anti-vaccination, she supports freedom of choice.