Novak Djokovic vaccine controversy a giant nothingburger

Social media is going crazy today over tennis champion Novak Djokovic being granted an exemption to play in this year’s Australian Open:

World number one Novak Djokovic says he will defend his Australian Open title at Melbourne Park this month after receiving a medical exemption from getting vaccinated against COVID-19…

The Australian Open confirmed Djokovic had received a medical exemption in a statement released late on Tuesday night…

The statement said Djokovic had received the exemption following “a rigorous review process involving two separate independent panels of medical experts.”

“One of those was the Independent Medical Exemption Review Panel appointed by the Victorian Department of Health. They assessed all applications to see if they met the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) guidelines,” the statement read…

The Victorian government released a statement on Tuesday night saying that it had worked closely with Tennis Australia on setting up an “independent and rigorous process to assess requests for medical exemptions at the Australian Open”.

“Any player who is granted a medical exemption will have gone through a two-stage, independent process to verify they have a genuine medical condition that meets the criteria for an exemption.”

Twitter warriors are furious, claiming the decision is an “insult” to all Australians following “the rules”, with many claiming they will boycott this year’s tournament in protest.

Although there are some like Tim Colebatch acting rationally:

This might sound controversial, but I fail to see the issue.

Novak Djokovic caught COVID in June 2020 after he played in a series of exhibition matches he organized in Serbia and Croatia. Thus, Djokovic likely has better natural protection than somebody that is vaccinated but has not had the virus.

Djokovic will also likely travel with his own medical team meaning that in the unlikely event that he does fall ill, he won’t burden the Australian health system.

It’s not like vaccination stops the spread of the virus. Just look how Omicron is spreading around the globe across highly vaccinated jurisdictions (e.g. NSW and Victoria). Thus, nobody can seriously make the case that Djokovic poses a greater risk to the community than anybody else. The virus is becoming endemic anyway, so draconian border exemptions are becoming counter-productive.

Djokovic followed due process, applied for a travel exemption and it was granted. Case closed.

The fortress mindset of six months ago needs to change. The world has moved on.

Unconventional Economist


  1. Ronin8317MEMBER

    The issue is hypocrisy by the Victorian government : locking up unvaccinated Victorians while allowing an overseas anti-vaxxer to play in the Australian open.

    • Fishing72MEMBER

      Yep. The outrageous part is that the unvaccinated are still being punitively punished for their non conformity. Even the most dubious of attempts at justifying the vaccine passports as a medical toll is dead in the water now that the virus spreads at will amongst the vaccinated and sever outcomes amongst unvaccinated are ridiculously tiny in number Statistically insignificant*!

      Macron has just said that he doesn’t consider the unvaccinated to be French citizens. This isn’t over. The Covid Cult is running out of steam but the Trojan horse of vaccine mandates and public control measures is through the gates.

      Mission accomplished.

      56 ICU cases WITH covid in Victoria. Apparently 95% unvaccinated so 50 unvaccinated in ICU WITH covid. Health minister admits that half of people in hospital as covid are not necessarily ill from covid. This means that 25 people out of the 2 million unvaccinated Victorians are severely Ill from covid.
      Chances of them being healthy people- everyone mandated for vaccines, healthy or otherwise- extremely, extremely, extremely unlikely.

      Zero justification for vaccine mandate / vaccine passport.

      • Jumping jack flash


        Hopefully it will all be over in a couple more months. I predict April at the latest is when the world will get its sanity back, despite the agenda of the vax companies to push out their new tech vaccines to everyone under the guise of “global disruption”, aka panic.

        It does depend on this proclaimed “pandemic” being proclaimed “endemic” and I’m not sure whether they have thought about an exit strategy, or what the parameters or terms of this reclassification are yet.

    • From what I could gather the exemption was granted due to his celiac disease, which puts him at a higher vax risk.
      So, on the face of it, it all appears legitimate.

  2. reusachtigeMEMBER

    Sadly the vast majority of the plebs, by far, hate anyone displaying any type of vaccine hesitancy. “You’re either with us or against us”. Mass psychosis for the win! Hatred reigns supreme.

  3. I don’t see the big deal, they have already made the decision to let it rip, why test and isolate and why bother with faux restrictions and contact tracing. Just give it up now, all done and dusted. Finished. Mass immigration ponzi to roll on, we have no choice. Or I should say we are given no choice.

    • Frank DrebinMEMBER

      It’s way beyond time that we start to open up to the rest of the world, so the whole “immigration conspiracy” is nonsense.

      It’s a side effect sure but for we’ve basically been closed down for two years now FFS.

      Let’s just get on with it.

      • I agree, re open the borders. I mean the daily numbers show we are letting it rip. Why have the charade that anything else is going on?

        Yes immigration is a side effect and a big part of the motivation to open up is to keep wages suppressed and restart the ponzi. I don’t think it’s a conspiracy, it is what they want (the politicians and business leaders) and not so much what the common man/woman on the street wants.

        • Anders Andersen

          lololol, because it’s a charade and they want to be able to claim they took precautions. If they “let it rip”tm, they’ll have to answer for it, here, they’ll have plausible deniability. This is what Perreparrot is doing with his “Personal Responsibility”.

  4. I think it’s more the perception and optics that another rich c&#t who makes money by knocking fuzzy yellow balls around for even richer corporate c&#ts to get richer doesn’t have to follow the rules that yer average Victorian does.

    But also if he caught it in 2020 immunity would’ve waned plus there’s new variants so actual immune protection would be square root of nothing (barring t-cell maybe)

    • Immunology 101
      Disease protection comes from Memory T and B cells, not antibodies. Memory Cells last for the life of a functional immune system. Natural Infection produces a greatly enhance T-cell response as it responds to the entire proteome of the virus, not just the spike proteins (which are also the most variable).
      And we now know that vaccinating people who have already caught the virus increases the chances of severe adverse reactions by 50%.
      Anyone who has caught the virus should have the right to a medical exemption.

      • Agree. But in a month’s time shouldn’t we all have exemptions after catching it. No, TBTB are already lining up another villain, from some third world scary place. There’s got to be fuzzy Wuzzy version coming , I mean they’ve got cannibals.

        Palasham, the continued lock out of the unvaxxed , is criminal. In Queensland they are still bleeding on about the unvaxxed, it’s quite frankly embarassing.

      • And now they are stopping people getting tested. FAIL on every level , they need to be held to account

      • Exactly, he had the virus and has superior natural defense now. He’s a healthy athlete with a strong metabolic function. Complete over reaction from people, considering the number of pro athletes mysteriously dropping dead this year, I can see why he is in no hurry to take it either. Clear links between the shots and heart damage.

      • Jumping jack flash

        “Disease protection comes from Memory T and B cells, not antibodies. ”


        But something must be done, oh the humanity!

      • Doesn’t matter, family friend of mine caught the Alpha strain and just got reinfected with Omnicron, and could spread it just as well as anyone else.

        • Thats the same as most viral diseases. It takes a minimum of a week to start mounting an effective viral defence if you’re never encountered the virus before, but when you’re primed you can suppress it in about 3 days. 80% of influenza is asymptomatic for that reason. So omicron gives you a cold and you recover by day 5 if you’re vaccinated or previously infected. It’s also 30% less likely to put you in hospital and 70% less likely to kill you if you have no prior immunity.
          Still dangerous if you’re immunocompromised, but so is everything else.

          • Jumping jack flash

            Coronaviruses are very good at causing infections very quickly. Far quicker than the immune system can identify them and start creating antibodies, despite prior exposure.

            Compared to other viruses such as measles which can take a week or more before it starts making you sick, during which time your body can make the specific antibodies and kill it off if you’re vaccinated. There’s also the mutation aspect of course.

            For this reason there can never be a “cure” in the traditional sense for a coronavirus that works to remove all disease and symptoms, but their latest trick is to simulate an infection to prime production of pathogen-specific antibodies. And it does work, but what are the long-term effects of having an immune system constantly on the alert for a specific virus?

  5. It’s seems most likely that he gets in having had Covid in the last 6 months. If that’s the case, why not say it? I wonder if that fact alone might be contrary to something he’s told another government in that time.

  6. Vaxxed & Infectious

    He just needs to have been infected in the past 6 months which is easy to do if you are in places like Europe and the US, ironically the most vaccinated places on Earth with punitive mandates placed on the unvaccinated.

    Australia one of the most vaccinated places on Earth but having some of the highest per capital transmission on the planet. In the middle of summer no less which is incredible to me. It’s like the vaccines are making the vaccinated more infectious if anything.

    • Jumping jack flash

      word on the street is that if you’re double vaccinated and haven’t also caught one of the previous strains prior, then if you catch the new one you’re more likely to get slightly worse symptoms than the mild symptoms that it would usually cause. Not sure how true that is though.

      But consider that Africa is one of the least vaccinated regions on the planet and they don’t seem to be having very bad problems there, but highly vaccinated regions seem to be struggling and 3rd and 4th boosters seem to be required.

      There is the agenda though of pumping out new-tech vaccines into the entire world just for the sake of getting everyone used to the new tech

      • Uk figures estimate a 50% reduction of infections if your triple vaxed, so R0 of 5 instead of 10. Lol!

      • That South African Omicron data published in NEJM and analysed by Naked Emperor just adds to the picture of negative efficacy seen in the UK data with delta (higher infection rates in vaccinated, catalogued by Don Wolt @tlowdon) and also recent Danish data.

        • The higher infection rates = higher reported infection rates. There are important behavioural differences between vaccinated and unvaccinated populations. For example, are you more or less likely to get tested if you think C19 is just a mild flu you don’t need to worry about? This explains why the raw data often shows higher hospitalisations and deaths among the unvaccinated populations but, less infections.

          • Doesn’t the fact that you’re relying on an argument about inferred behavioural differences in testing to account for higher infection rates say a lot about the real world efficacy of these novel mRNA injections?

          • Not at all. It should be fairly obvious to most with even a modicum of objectivity. The fact the unvaccinated are so much more likely to end up in hospital or dead just emphasizes that these sorts of behavioural differences are likely to be a significant factor explaining the lower reported infection rate in some studies.

  7. Is it childish to hope they bring back the Richard Hadlee chant for Novak? (asking for a friend – who had this thought well before the exemption).

    • Vaxxed & Infectious

      Aussies are very sanctimonious. Always have been. Meanwhile the vaccinated are out and about spreading the virus at some of the highest rates in the middle of a warm summer.

      • Nothing to do with his vax views or exemption – just the way he carries himself generally.

        • Vaxxed & Infectious

          R a cism because he’s Eastern European and about to beat the crowd darling Federer’s record

          • Not a fan of Federer either. Depending of your view of Eastern euro I am a big fan of some of their athletes (cyclists & soccer players). I’m quite happy no part of the world has a monopoly on being/not being a tosser so my view on Novak has nothing to do with where he is from.

  8. Arthur Schopenhauer

    It’s a Morrison master stroke. All the anger and frustration around the current #letitrip debacle deftly deflected onto Djokovic. (The federal gov gives the exemption.)

    Meanwhile Dan has now sourced 44million RAT tests for free distribution to Victorians.

    • TheLambKingMEMBER

      Fed government gave him a visa to enter Aus in the first place. TA/Dan wouldn’t have to do the panel without a visa?

    • Anders Andersen

      That doesn’t appear to be the case: Federal health authorities told Tennis Australia boss Craig Tiley on two occasions in writing that people who were not vaccinated and had contracted COVID-19 in the past six months would not be granted quarantine-free travel to Australia.

      The emergence of two letters from the Department of Health and Health Minister Greg Hunt in November casts doubt over why tennis star Novak Djokovic was granted an exemption to play in the Australian Open by health panels set up by Tennis Australia and the Victorian government.

      He gets the exemption from those two medical boards, but when he rocks up he must satisfy Border Force that his documentation is legitimate and he was unable (according to them) to prove he met the requirements.

      You see it all the time on Border Force where tourists have a valid visa and the BF people suspect that their claims are not legitimate. Same here, he didn’t’t have the docs to support his visa and it would appear TA and the Vic Gov stuffed up.

      • Jumping jack flash

        Yes, agree completely.

        Until then I’ll wear my “Unclean” t-shirt around and place a biohazzard sign in my front yard?

  9. I tried those new Pringles the other day.

    They were awful! They were yellowy green, fuzzy, tasted rubbery and there were only three in the tube!

    It was enough to put me off my chia banana smoothie.

  10. Arthur Schopenhauer

    Morrison blaming Dan Andrews for giving him the exemption, but it was Minister Karen Andrews’ OK, as confirmed by Karen Andrews’ press release! 🤭😂🤣

    Ya gotta laugh!

    • Prime Minister reacts to shock call

      Prime Minister Scott Morrison was asked about the decision to grant Djokovic an exemption on Wednesday and pinned responsibility on the Victorian government.

      “Well, that is a matter for the Victorian government. They have provided him with an exemption to come to Australia, and so we then act in accordance with that decision,” he told reporters.

      Pressed on if he thought it was an appropriate call, Morrison added: “Well, that’s how it works. States provide exemptions for people to enter on those basis, and that’s been happening for the last two years. So there’s no change to that arrangement.

      “The Victorian government made their decision on that. And so I’d have to refer to the Victoria Government about their reasons for doing so.”

      Says the man who built his reputation on turning back the boats.

  11. Totes BeWokeMEMBER

    If you accept the standard that apples to all the rest of us exempted for an elite, don’t be surprised with the next, and the one after that, and the one after that etc etc etc.

    There’s been so many. Danni Minogue, Matt Damon, Zac effron.

    This is not about covid. This is about one rule for us, another for the elites.

    What about letting elites commit crime against plebs without prosecution? This is how it starts. This is more of the same of our journey to becoming America.

    Don’t accept it. Tell your local MP you won’t be voting for them because they didn’t kick up a stink on our behalf.

    • Didn’t Isla Fisher and Sacha Baron-Cohen move to Perth in the space of a few weeks, and gush in the media about how great it was (no lockdowns), at a time when normal Australians couldn’t even get in to see dying relatives etc.?

      • Totes BeWokeMEMBER

        Yep, and a few more that have escaped my memory. Didn’t that nob Thor come and go?

        It’s a disgrace. I’ve got friends that have lost their jobs because they refused to be vaxed. Some of us got it reluctantly to do our part for the community and keep jobs.

        There is no fking way he or anyone else should be getting an exemption. Medical grounds? What BS. Getting covid hasn’t exempted anyone else.

        It’s simple what this is. One rule for the elites.

      • Frank DrebinMEMBER

        And that washed up Gray’s Anatomy slapper.

        A US citizen gets to come and go as she please but WA residents are locked out. McGowan is as hypocritical and dangerous as Scomo.

    • reusachtigeMEMBER

      Oh stop whinging and accept the fact that there are people who are way more important than you due to their great wealth and success!

      • Correct, at least we should be open and honest about this. Let’s stop living under any kind of illusion like we’re all equal and special snowflakes.

        • Jumping jack flash

          This idea of “equality” only applies in a Socialist Utopia. Last time i checked we dont have, need, or want one of those (and with good reason it would seem!), so the concept of equality in our chosen system is a fallacy. This is just one of those things that expose it.

          Depending on how long you think about this one could consider the dichotomy of capitalism and socialism and its tenuous balance in modern society, but I’m on the train.

          • I tend to agree, that humans organise themselves in a hierarchical structure and any attempt to flatten said structure is really a Utopian dream and not something that works long term, although I’ve seen instances where it can work short term, inevitably a time comes when it ceases to work and a reversion to a hierarchy is established.

            Covid has just exposed that we live in a multi-tier society and most people occupy the peasant class. It may be a shock to some, but I’ve always accepted that’s how I’ve been treated by Government and most institutions. If I don’t like that, well I either need to become seriously wealthy or some kind of celebrity / influencer.

  12. Totes BeWokeMEMBER

    “Federal Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese on Wednesday demanded a ‘full and transparent explanation’ for the exemption”

    Labor shouldn’t let this go if they’ve got any sense (they of course don’t). Labor will score many many points over this from a country that’s been bent over for 2 years with covid to watch elites get exemptions.

    • LOL. Every which way Albo desperate for a headline.
      Tell me again how they are going to piss $500 million up against a wall on high speed rail.
      At $24 million euro per km lets see how far he gets.

  13. Pretty embarrassing times ahead for those exclusionary/cultish hard core pro vaxxers ( not talking about average Joe with his certificate)

    • Definitely cult-like things going on all over the place. When they’re all shown to be a bunch of idiots, as is happening now, they’ll no doubt line up in the queue to get some of the kool-aid.

      One can only hope.

      • Politicians are frustrated their complete impotency in the face of a virus evolving via natural selection is on full display.
        Hence lashing out at one group or another on any particular given day.
        Truly pathetic.

  14. “The fortress mindset of six months ago needs to change. The world has moved on.”

    Don’t agree with this statement; and many people sick in the world with others they care about probably don’t either. Keeping our borders closed with proper quarantine looks like the only thing that has a high effective rate with minimal sacrifice after recent evidence. There are pro vax, anti vax, the thing has become all tribal when in reality we should do the things that are most effective with the least cost so both sides are reasonably happy if not entirely happy.

    Looking at the current case numbers, etc it seems like a walking train wreck. There will be other variants, and we will do this dance every 4-6 months. As someone who has a temporarily vulnerable person in our household for the next few months don’t really appreciate the letting it rip attitude.

    GPs are refusing to see people due to not wanting COVID for the most basic of tests (blood, blood pressure, etc); happened to us yesterday being palmed off between many GPs, clinic’s, etc. Health system is failing in other ways, not just hospitals. I do think a basic functioning health system is an asset worth keeping.

    For many of the vulnerable, especially if permanent this looks like a permanent lockdown with no chance of it ever changing. Restricted borders looking at the numbers (cases, hospital growth, etc) seems to be the only thing that has actually worked to a significant degree in preserving our everyday freedoms without worry and anxiety.

    Maybe not a popular opinion on this blog but we had a good lifestyle before where all people could enjoy the best quality of care. Still would love to be in WA.

  15. Hahaha with Novak now getting booted out we have 22,000 *cases* so I ask who is the bigger risk here? An athlete in peak form who has already had the WuFlu and has no need of a vaccination or is it the Victorian public that is at risk from letting him in?

    We are in a mass hysteria here. Recognise it it for what it is.

    Wise words from Dr Robert Malone on “Mass Formation Psychosis”

    • NelsonMuntzMEMBER

      It is just a political circus. Scotty From Marketing trying to look tough on borders by holding Novak for a couple of hours before thanking him for the distraction and letting him out into the Let It Rip™ community experiment.

  16. kiwikarynMEMBER

    Looking forward to a rerun of this.
    Fears that ethnic violence could erupt again at the Australian Open today have been fuelled after gang leaders threatened a repeat of the ugly scenes that marred yesterday’s opening day.
    More than 150 Croatian, Serbian and Greek supporters were thrown out of Melbourne Park after a brawl broke out along ethnic lines in the Garden Square area just before 1pm.
    The violence is believed to be unprecedented in the history of Grand Slam tennis and has brought additional – if not entirely welcome – international attention to one of Australia’s premier sporting events.

  17. Fletcher_MMEMBER

    Completely agree. The people are getting strung along by a media always looking for the next headline. It saddens me to see how much attention this is getting.

  18. What this incident highlights isn’t the ridiculousness of how he’s being treated. it highlights the ridiculousness of Australia’s border control policy.

    Border control is damaging the economy, destructive of people’s lives and wellbeing and utterly useless as a public health policy tool and should be abandoned.

  19. Who would have predicted that 20 years after 2001, so many then-Howard-haters would be spitting his slogans:
    “We decide who comes to this country and the circumstances in which they come.”

    • ^This. Definitely shades of children overboard, although Morrison has managed to f it up by issuing Novak a visa in the first place.