Channel Seven has responded after Home & Away star Sam Frost uploaded an emotional video in which she revealed she is unvaccinated against Covid-19.
The network has clarified its stance on Covid-19 vaccines for staff, revealing it 'strongly encourages vaccination' in a statement.
"Seven strongly encourages vaccination for all our people and all Seven productions strictly adhere to the public health Covid-19 safe protocols," a Seven spokesperson said in a statement to Daily Mail.
"All Home and Away cast and crew also undertake Covid-19 testing three times a week in addition to other preventative measures."
The network confirmed Sam Frost continues to work on the popular soap and "follows the safety protocols in place."
It had been previously reported that the network was said to have placed a ban on unvaccinated make-up staff, citing concerns that any hair and make-up freelancers, who work on other TV programs, could bring the virus into Seven studios.
The Australian reported that Sunrise hosts Natalie Barr and David Koch refused to have their hair and makeup done by unvaccinated staff members, with Kochie voicing his fears for his pregnant colleague Edwina, as well as himself being in a higher risk category because of his age at 65.
The presenters, along with Sunrise newsreader Edwina Bartholomew and executive producer Michael Pell, are fully vaccinated and would only work with members of the beauty department who are also vaccinated.
Sam Frost deactivated her Instagram account following the swift backlash to her emotional video in which she opened up about the “harsh judgement” and "segregation" people who aren’t vaccinated are experiencing and how it's impacting her mental health.
“I was really hesitant about doing a video or even speaking up about this sort of thing, but I feel like it's getting to a point now in the world where there is a lot of segregation,” she began.
“There’s a lot of harsh judgement and opinions being thrown around a lot and it's taking its toll on my mental health for sure, and I know people around me are struggling, particularly if they're on the side that they don't want to get vaccinated for whatever reason.”
Fellow TV stars were quick to call out the actress for her video, with fellow Bachelor star Abbie Chatfield, who has been a staunch advocator of the vaccine, taking to her Instagram account.
"So brave to 'come out' as putting yourself as an individual above your community because you listen to misinformation. Another reality star bites the dust," she wrote.
Presenter and comedian Em Rusciano also took to Twitter, writing: "Watching her tearfully speak about “segregation” because she chooses not to get vaccinated and being called “brave” by her followers is taking me to a level of “what the f***” I didn’t know was possible."
While Bachelor star Matt Agnew posted his own response to "discuss and challenge a few of the points that were put forward".
"There are NOT a lot of different reasons why someone shouldn’t be getting vaccinated. There is one reason: medical. And that is a rather broad reason too. It encompasses many things including immunocompromised individuals, people that may experience anaphylaxis to particular components of the vaccines, and (in the case of *live* vaccines) pregnant women."
He also called out Sam's "appeal to show compassion and empathy was made, while displaying none of those characteristics by choosing to put the lives of those who *can not* get vaccinated at risk. Anti-vaxxers often skip this step. You are affecting others."
Matt touched on Sam's use of the word "segregation" in her video, calling it "inappropriate considering the historical significance of the word. It should not be used haphazardly when it carries such immense weight and meaning to others."
Mental health support for yourself or a loved one can be found by calling Lifeline on 13 11 14, Mensline on 1300 789 978, or Kids Helpline on 1800 551 800. Online support is available via Beyond Blue.
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