Franchise Chairman Dr Newton Albert said although a small percentage of the playing group were reluctant to get vaccinated earlier, he’s thanked everyone for their understanding and cooperation to get it out of their system so they can refocus of the upcoming season.
Dr Albert said, “Vipers as a team we agreed as per the PNGNRLC directive and the NCC to have our players vaccinated. We are happy to be part of that call out, become role models and showcase to communities and people out there that we have to buy into credible and evidence-based and proven medical science than believing in sceptics and conspiracy theories from unknown people. We have to believe in credible organisations like WHO, whom we have depended on for so long for our medication, vaccinations and medical innovations.”
Also at the Rita Flynn facility to get vaccinated were the 2020 Digicel Cup defending champions Kroton Hela Wigmen players, coaching staff, management and officials.
While this is not mandatory, it is part of the approach by the PNG National Rugby League competition (PNGNRLC) as it looks for stringent measures to curb the surge of Covid-19 cases and allow for competition to kick off as early as possible.
According to Wigmen Board Chairman Andy Hetra it was a difficult decision to make based on a lot of assumptions and negativities circulating on social media about the vaccine.
However for the good of the team and the competition, they all agreed to get the AstraZeneca shot.
Hetra said, “It’s been a tough conversation to have especially with the give and take of vaccination. Importantly we’ve realised that there is the lack of awareness, that’s sort of taken (a) toll on the minds of the players.”
He added it took the team three weeks to educate themselves about the vaccine and why it was important to get the jab.
“Yes we have a requirement from the PNGNRLC to everyone, but then it comes down to individuals and we respect that decision,” said Hetra.
Photo credit: PNGRFL