British Sports Minister urges reluctant footballers to get vaccinated against COVID-19

General view of Old Trafford after Manchester United’s Premier League match against Brentford at Brentford Community Stadium was postponed due to a series of positive coronavirus tests among players and staff, Manchester, UK, 14 December 2021 REUTERS / Action Images / Jason Cairnduff

Dec 17 (Reuters) – UK Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston urged footballers who have no intention of getting vaccinated against COVID-19 to “overcome their reluctance” because it is their social responsibility.

Faced with the postponement of matches due to COVID outbreaks in several clubs, the English Football League declared on Thursday that a quarter of the players of its 72 clubs have no intention quarter-efl-players-do-not-intend-get-covid-19-vaccine-2021-12-16 from being vaccinated.

“I recognize that some people cannot be vaccinated, but we all have to encourage those who are not vaccinated to overcome their reluctance,” Huddleston was quoted as saying by the BBC.

“The vast majority of those seriously ill from COVID in the hospital are not vaccinated. The most important thing that anyone – including footballers – can do to protect themselves, their co-workers and their loved ones is to get vaccinated and receive a reinforcement”.

The most recent Premier League data on vaccination levels, in mid-October, revealed that 81% of players had received at least one dose and 68% had been vaccinated twice.

“Getting vaccinated is the socially responsible thing. Many footballers and sports stars have used their position and social media to encourage people to get vaccinated. I am very grateful to them, they can reach people that ministers cannot,” added Huddleston.

“I know football authorities are also working with players to understand why some are hesitant to get vaccinated,” Huddleston said.

Member of Parliament Jeff Smith also urged soccer players to get vaccinated, describing them as “important role models for millions of people.” “Vaccines are safe, effective, and the best protection we have against COVID,” he said.

(Information from Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; translated by Aida Peláez at the Gdansk newsroom. Edited by Javier Leira)

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