Tennis star Novak Djokovic has been denied permission to enter the US without being vaccinated, forcing him to withdraw from the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells and the Miami Open.
Djokovic has appealed for a special dispensation to play in the tournaments, given that the restrictions are supposed to be ending in April anyway. However, his request for a vaccine waiver was rejected by the Homeland Security Department.
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“It has come to our attention that your administration is in receipt of a request to waive the current vaccine mandate for international travelers entering the United States from top-ranked men’s tennis player Novak Djokovic,” the Senators wrote in a letter.
“We write to urge you to grant the requested waiver, which is necessary to allow Mr. Djokovic to compete in the Miami Open professional tennis tournament held in our home state of Florida beginning March 19, 2023,” the pair added.
The letter continues, “In September 2022, you plainly declared to a national audience on 60 Minutes that ‘the [COVID-19] pandemic is over,’ and, earlier this year, Dr. Anthony Fauci published a professional article acknowledging the limited efficacy of vaccines in protecting against respiratory pathogens, like the novel coronavirus.”
“In light of these changing circumstances, and admissions by you and members of your own administration, the current restrictive vaccine mandate which you have maintained for international travelers entering the United States seems outdated and worthy of rescission,” the Senators urge.
They add, “Mr. Djokovic is a world-class athlete in peak physical condition who is not at high-risk of severe complications from COVID-19. It seems both illogical and misaligned with the opinions of your own administration to not grant him the waiver he requests so that he may travel to the U.S. to compete in a professional event.”
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