The English Football League has revealed 25% of its players do not intend to get vaccinated against Covid-19.
Vaccine uptake in the football world has been slow, with it being reported in October that 81% had taken a first jab and 68% are fully vaccinated. However, there have been high-profile cases of footballers going against scientific advice.
Joshua Kimmich said he wanted more time to research the potential long-term effects of vaccines, but his brush with the virus over the past month or so has seen his stance change. The Germany midfielder recently said he should have been vaccinated sooner and regrets taking his time to make the decision.
Games in the United Kingdom are being postponed with regularity due to rising cases of Covid-19 – in part due to the new omicron variant – with Brentford vs Manchester United, Burnley vs Watford, Leicester vs Tottenham and Manchester United vs Brighton all being called off this week.
The Premier League intends to continue playing fixtures “where safely possible”, while the EFL issued an update on the vaccination rate of its players in a statement.
“On vaccination, the EFL is encouraging all eligible players and staff to get fully vaccinated and a booster jab to help protect colleagues and minimise the risk of fixtures being postponed. The EFL will also be supporting the Government’s ‘Get Boosted Now’ campaign over the coming weeks,” it read.
“The latest vaccine data collated for November has shown that 75% of players across the EFL are either fully vaccinated, have had a single jab or intend to be vaccinated. Double vaccinated players total 59%, 16% are set to get the jab, while 25% of players currently do not intend to get a vaccine.”
The EFL’s medical advisor, Richard Higgins, added: “We know that getting double jabbed and boosted now will reduce the risk of getting seriously ill or dying from COVID-19, reduce the risk of catching or spreading COVID-19 amongst team-mates and loved ones, while helping protect against COVID-19 variants including Omicron.”
On Wednesday, the UK recorded its highest number of daily infections since the start of the pandemic, with chief medical officer Chris Whitty warning more records will be broken in the coming months.
The government recently announced new Plan B measures, though they have stopped short of telling the public to cancel social events.