The Health Secretary has targeted a handful of “disappointing” England national football team players who have reportedly refused to get the Covid vaccine.
Sajid Javid suggested that anonymous players let the country down and called on them to recognize their power as “role models”.
At least five members of the England men’s squad, including three who played in this summer’s Euro, are unvaccinated, the Sun reported on Saturday.
They risk being dropped ahead of next year’s World Cup in Qatar, as tournament organizers are expected to ban anyone who has not received at least two doses of the vaccine.
Asked about the claims, Mr Javid told Times Radio on Sunday: “I would just like to appeal to these people, whether they are footballers, whoever it is… that the vaccines work. Help protect yourself and those around you.
“They made a conscious choice. It’s disappointing, of course it is… They are role models in society.
“People, especially young people, I think they admire them and they should recognize that and the difference it can make in terms of encouraging others.
A separate report released this week said the vast majority of Premier League players have yet to be vaccinated.
Less than half of players at 13 of the 20 Premier League clubs have been fully vaccinated, with the overall average being around a third of players.
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp, whose team is 99% double-hit, said he was unable to explain the decisions of other players, comparing them to people who get behind the wheel after consuming alcohol. ‘alcohol.
He said: “I explain it a bit like drunk driving. We were probably all in a situation where we had had a beer or two and thought ‘I can drive’.
“But this law is not there to protect me, it is there to protect all other people because I am angry and want to drive a car. And we accept that as a law.
“We all know that alcohol is bad for our bodies, but we still drink it. With vaccination, we assume that it is not good for our body.
He added: “Most specialists tell us that vaccination is the solution to the situation right now.”
“I don’t get vaccinated just to protect myself, I get vaccinated to protect everyone around me.”
Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston has acknowledged that some people cannot receive the vaccine for medical reasons, but “strongly urged” anyone who “just does not want to get the vaccine” to change their mind.
He suggested that footballers may have fallen victim to “online disinformation”.
England manager Gareth Southgate previously said: “I think we have to make the right representations because we have a responsibility to the general public to help people get through the virus, but I also understand that young people are going to have opinions individual about how they see and they’re going to be influenced by what they read and what they see, so it’s a cycle far from straightforward.
He claimed team medics did not disclose to him which players were vaccinated, but suggested their “medical confidentiality” may need to be broken when it comes to accessing tournaments with vaccination requirements.
While backing the vaccination he appeared to deny that the jab’s demands would hurt England’s chances, adding: “Anytime the players are with us we will always be in a bubble and on a sporting exemption so I guess that the biggest problem is going to be players returning to clubs or clubs traveling to certain countries.
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