Unvaccinated players will be permitted to participate in next month’s Australian Open tennis tournament after Australia’s anti-virus agency came to an agreement with the Open, the tournament’s organizers said Wednesday.
The agreement ends a six-week quarantine that a doctor at the Australian Medical Association had urged the tournament to impose after Victoria public health officials said they had identified 31 unvaccinated children in the state. The outbreak in 2016 was due to an outbreak of measles at an annual children’s festival in Melbourne that was linked to unvaccinated players at the country’s annual tennis championships.
“After consideration of the consultation process with medical and public health experts, tournament security, and player safety and welfare, the tournament accepts this conclusion,” Tennis Australia spokesman Sam Watson said in a statement.
Unvaccinated children in Victoria are required to receive a “Reality Check” vaccine before starting school at age six months, and must receive the required booster shots once they are 12 and 15. Australia’s National Immunisation Program has also worked with players to try to reduce the risk of infections in the event of a recurrence, authorities said.
The World Health Organization says that 99 percent of pregnant women in developed countries will get measles during their pregnancies. Each year, the organization says, it kills almost 250,000 people, and medical experts say the disease can cause miscarriages, small children and deafness.
Parents, who typically cite personal preference as the reason for not vaccinating their children, have long been increasingly skeptical about government policy that requires vaccinations. The anti-vaccination movement has gained strength in the United States in recent years, particularly through social media, where parents put forward pseudoscience that has been described as pseudoscience.