The behaviour of Australian Open fans who booed the mention of a COVID-19 vaccine rollout after Sunday’s men’s final has been branded “disgusting”.
Tennis Australia president Jayne Hrdlicka was loudly heckled when she mentioned vaccines in her presentation speech after Novak Djokovic’s victory.
Michael McCormack, Australia’s deputy prime minister said: “Well, that’s un-Australian (the booing incident), I’m sorry that is just un-Australian.
“I think it was rather disgusting behaviour. I don’t like booing at any event, and certainly any sporting event.
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“This vaccine is going to get our country back to some sort of pre-COVID normality.
“This vaccine is going to prevent Australians from being in an ICU bed down the track, this vaccine needs to roll out right across the country.”
Djokovic – who in the past has been criticised over his casual attitude to COVID restrictions – beat Russian Daniil Medvedev.
Meanwhile, Australia started its COVID-19 vaccination programme on Monday, days after its neighbour New Zealand, with both governments deciding their pandemic experiences did not require regulation shortcuts.
Australia is prioritising building public confidence in vaccines ahead of speed of delivery.
The country’s chief medical officer has warned about 20% of the country are hesitant about the coronavirus vaccine, despite having one of the world’s highest vaccination rates for other diseases.
The vast majority of Australia’s 25 million population will be injected with the AstraZeneca vaccine, which will be produced locally by CSL Ltd by the middle of March.
Authorities plan to inoculate four million people by March and expect to finish vaccinations by the end of October.