Sajid Javid ‘disappointed’ as several England footballers ‘refuse to take Covid vaccine’

A report in The Sun claimed that one player had been ‘duped’ by anti-vax conspiracy theories

‘Get out and get another job,’ Sajid Javid tells unvaccinated care workers

Sajid Javid has said he is “disappointed” after reports emerged that several England footballers are refusing to get vaccinated against Covid.

The health secretary stressed that the Three Lions are “role models” and should be encouraging younger people to step forward and get jabbed.

His comments came after a source told The Sun that five players in the England squad are currently unvaccinated, with three refusing outright to take the jab. One footballer is said to have claimed he is too “young and fit” to be affected by the virus while another has reportedly fallen prey to anti-vax conspiracy theories that the jab is a tool used by governments to spy on the public.

Responding to the report on Saturday morning, Mr Javid issued an appeal to the footballers to get jabbed to “help protect yourself and those around you”.

“I would just appeal to these people, whether they are footballers, whoever it is...that the vaccines are working,” he told Times Radio. “They've made a conscious choice. It is disappointing, of course it is.

“They are role models in society. People, especially young people, will look up to them and they should recognise that and the difference that can make in terms of encouraging others.”

The revelations could threaten England’s World Cup bid in Qatar in 2022, with the country reportedly set to announce a ban on unvaccinated players. A source told The Athletic last month that Qatari officials are pushing for mandatory vaccination for all players taking part after announcing that anyone attending the tournament must be double-jabbed.

Dressing rooms and WhatsApp groups shared by Premier League players are currently “awash” with anti-vax conspiracy theories, according to The Sun.

A club doctor told the newspaper that some of the material the players were reading and believing was “incredible”. They added: “Players are saying it will make them infertile, that it's part of a plot involving Bill Gates, that the pandemic is just propaganda.

“The real problem is they’re also polluting the minds of younger players.”

Gareth Southgate, the England manager, supported a government drive to get more young people vaccinated earlier this year. In a video posted online in July, he urged young people to get the jab and said it was a chance for them "to get their freedom back".

An FA spokesman said: “This is a private matter for individuals and their respective clubs as employers. Our preparations for the forthcoming internationals continue as normal.”

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