England manager Gareth Southgate appeared in an NHS video which encouraged vaccine take-up, something for which he received extensive online abuse for
England could be without a string of their stars in next year’s World Cup with reports that at least five players are refusing to be vaccinated.
The Three Lions have all but sealed their place in the showpiece event, which will take place in Qatar next winter.
Wins against Hungary and Andorra in the next batch of qualifiers will effectively ensure safe passage, but their hopes of lifting the trophy could hit a major hitch.
Claims in The Sun say a number of players that could be involved in the tournament are yet to have a Covid-19 vaccine – and some reportedly don’t plan to.
According to the report, the players have listed a number of reasons for their alleged unwillingness to take the vaccine.
World Cup organisers are planning to ban all unvaccinated players next year, leaving Gareth Southgate in a difficult position.
Deputy Chief Medical Officer Jonathan Van Tam is said to have been drafted in to address the benefits of the jab in hope of dispelling the myth that is circulating around WhatsApp groups up and down the country.
Southgate has already made his feelings clear on the situation, previously saying: “There’s no doubt the vaccination programme is our best route out of this problem.”
The England boss subsequently admitted that after appearing in a video promoting vaccine take-up he was subjected to extensive online abuse.
In August, he said: “I think the [ Premier League ] captains had a call withJonathan Van-Tam, from what I read.
“So I think that information from a sort of chief medical perspective was delivered and my understanding, although I’ve not spoken to people at every club is that, the take up has been very varied across different clubs.
“I’m not really going to get too involved in this because I was asked to do a video supporting the vaccination programme, which I thought was responsible, and of all the things that I’ve received abuse for over the summer, of which there’s been several, that’s probably the one I’ve received the most abuse over.
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“So I’m probably going to keep out of that argument for the time being.”
Sports minister Nigel Huddleston said: “It’s disappointing to hear there may be some footballers unwilling to get vaccinated, perhaps due to misinformation online.”
Mirror Football have contacted The FA for comment.
England’s players are set to fly out to Andorra next week, where they will form a Covid bubble ahead of the subsequent qualifiers.