AFLW star Deni Varnhagen will not be getting Covid-19 vaccination despite working as a nurse

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Women’s footy player becomes the first Aussie sports star to REFUSE to get the Covid jab – and she’s an ICU NURSE: ‘Freedom of choice’

  • Deni Varnhagen has said she will not be getting the Covid vaccination
  • The footballer works as a nurse and under SA rules must be jabbed by Nov 1 
  • There are no vaccine mandates for AFL or AFLW players in South Australia
  • She recently posted images to Instagram appearing to support freedom rallies 


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AFLW star and two-time premiership winner Deni Varnhagen is refusing to get the Covid jab – despite being an ICU nurse. 

The Adelaide Crows player told the club she is yet to make a decision on getting vaccinated, making her the only known player in the league not to have received a shot, News Corp reported.

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It is not mandatory in South Australia for AFLW or AFL players to be vaccinated, but because she is a nurse she must receive at least one dose by November 1.

Varnhagen, 28, shared a picture of a sign following a rally in Adelaide with the words ‘health care heroes in 2020… un-vaxxed [and] unwanted in 2021’.

‘No logic,’ she added.  

AFLW star and two-time premiership winner Deni Varnhagen (pictured with her partner) is refusing to get the Covid-19 jab despite the footy player also working as a nurse in the ICU

AFLW star and two-time premiership winner Deni Varnhagen (pictured with her partner) is refusing to get the Covid-19 jab despite the footy player also working as a nurse in the ICU

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The Adelaide Crows winger has told the club she is yet to make a decision on getting vaccinated

The Adelaide Crows winger has told the club she is yet to make a decision on getting vaccinated

She also appeared to support a ‘freedom protest’ in the South Australian capital, sharing a photo with the caption: ‘Thousands marching for Freedom of Choice!’.

She has said she is not an ‘anti-vaxxer’. 

In Victoria, professional footballers are considered ‘authorised workers’ and must have received one jab by October 15 and be fully vaccinated by November 26. 

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A spokesperson for the Adelaide Crows said the club encouraged everyone to get vaccinated.

The AFLW competition begins on January 6. 

‘The club remains committed to following the health advice and guidelines set by the government and the AFL,’ the spokesperson said. 

Daily Mail Australia has contacted Varnhagen for comment.

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AFLW CEO Nicole Livingstone addressed the matter on Monday, saying the organisation was happy to provide more information to players regarding vaccines.   

Varnhagen works as a frontline healthcare worker which are required to have received on dose of the vaccine by November 1 in South Australia

Varnhagen works as a frontline healthcare worker which are required to have received on dose of the vaccine by November 1 in South Australia

The footy star has also shared photos to her Instagram appearing to support freedom marches

The footy star has also shared photos to her Instagram appearing to support freedom marches

‘If a player feels like they need more information, then we’re happy to provide that and have those conversations as well,’ Ms Livingstone told SEN’s Whateley program.

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‘But at the end of the day, we are still living through a global pandemic and if anybody – whether it’s AFL, AFLW or any other sport – feels like playing a sport during a global pandemic is not for them, then I have to respect that as well.

‘There’s still a little more time to work through that approach for Deni. I don’t know the intimate details of that, but we’ll support the players as much as we can to make an informed choice.’

She said it would be ‘much easier’ to continue as an athlete if a person was vaccinated.

The AFL is still working on its own vaccination policy which would apply to all players across the league and the AFLW.

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The rules mandated in Victoria apply to any player or staff member entering the state for the competition. 

Varnhagen was the No.26 in the 2016 AFL Women’s Draft and starred for the team when they won premierships in 2017 and 2019.

In 2019 she was named the club’s best defensive player and has played 31 games for the Crows. 

Varnhagen was the No.26 in the 2016 AFL Women’s Draft and starred for the team when they won the premiership in both 2017 and 2019

Varnhagen was the No.26 in the 2016 AFL Women’s Draft and starred for the team when they won the premiership in both 2017 and 2019

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