UK health secretary Sajid Javid has said it is “disappointing” that at least five members of the England squad are reportedly refusing to be vaccinated against coronavirus.
He said the players are role models who could play a part in encouraging others to get the jab.
Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp also said he is at a loss to explain why there is seemingly a reluctance among Premier League players to be vaccinated – as he made a comparison between the reasons for being jabbed and drink-driving laws.
Their comments came after The Sun reported five players have not had the jab despite organizers of next year’s Qatar World Cup planning to ban all unvaccinated players.
Javid told Times Radio of the “huge vaccine wall of defence” being created, and added: “I would just appeal to these people, whether they are footballers, whoever it is … that the vaccines are working. Help protect yourself and protect those around you.
“They’ve made a conscious choice. It is disappointing, of course it is … They are role models in society. People, especially young people, I think will look up to them and they should recognise that and the difference that can make in terms of encouraging others.”
A report this week suggested only seven of the 20 Premier League clubs have succeeded in fully vaccinating 50 per cent or more of their squads, with the overall average said to be approximately one-third of all players.
Due to medical confidentiality the Premier League will not confirm exact numbers but sources have suggested those figures are out of date and take-up is now higher than the 30-35 per cent indicated in some reports.