McLachlan said on 3AW on Friday that the league would continue to speak to key stakeholders before finalising its policy.
“We are really strongly encouraging everyone to get vaccinated – players, staff, our community, everyone – and the decision on the final policy settings will be made I think certainly by the end of this season,” he said.
“We don’t really need to have the final decision until we have supply which we don’t at the moment. We have been pretty clear, we need to be vaccinated as a community to get out of this tough situation that we are in.”
He indicated compulsory vaccinations were unlikely, but the league was clear that they wanted people at clubs to be vaccinated.
“It’s just a complicated position. We need to work through the process with our clubs, our players, our players association, for the final settings. I think we are pretty strong that we need to be vaccinated,” he said.
The AFLPA, which has been working with the AFL on the issue, remain in broad agreement with the league. They have a general principle that it is an individual’s choice what they put in their body, but they understood the league could help lead the community push for people to be vaccinated.
“We are. It’s really important that all of our players, staff, the industry is educated properly and has all the information to make the decision. We will be wanting to push to have players and others try and lead in the community. We will look at that,” McLachlan said.
A club doctor said they had seen no indication that people within clubs were unwilling to get vaccinated, but imagined, given community attitudes, there would be a percentage within clubs wary about vaccination. But the AFL was likely to use education rather than penalties to encourage vaccination.