Covid UK: Sajid Javid slams England players refusing jabs

Sajid Javid slams ‘disappointing’ England players refusing Covid vaccines and says they are ‘role models’ and should be encouraging young people to get jabbed

  • The Health Secretary warned that the stars they are ‘role models’ for youngsters
  • Mr Javid warned that they should be encouraging teenagers to get a jab instead
  • Three senior team members are reportedly among the rebels not getting vaccine
  • They are said to believe they are too healthy to suffer Covid or pressured by wife
  • World Cup organisers plan to ban all unvaccinated players from Qatar next year

Health Secretary Sajid Javid has branded members of the England football squad reportedly refusing Covid vaccines ‘disappointing’ and is urging them to encourage young people to get jabbed. 

Three senior team members have reportedly insisted that they are too healthy to suffer Covid, a decision that potentially endangers England’s World Cup hopes in Qatar next year where organisers plan to ban unvaccinated players.

At least two others are said to have refused the jabs, with some thought to have swallowed conspiracy theories and online ‘misinformation’ while others have apparently been pressured by their wives.   

England football manager Gareth Southgate claims he does not know which of his players are refusing to be vaccinated – but expects them to be ‘outed’ when the squad travels abroad. 

Liverpool manager Jurgen 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. 

Mr 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.’

The Health Secretary yesterday told care home staff who ‘cannot be bothered’ to get the jab to ‘get out and get another job’, insisting he is ‘very clear’ they should not be working with the country’s most vulnerable people.

In other developments: 

  • An investigation by The Mail on Sunday exposed fraudsters selling official NHS passes used to prove double vaccinations to people who refuse to have the injections;
  • Health Secretary Sajid Javid rounded on jab refuseniks in the care sector, saying: ‘If you cannot be bothered to go and get vaccinated, then get out and go and get another job’;
  • The Mail on Sunday has learned that the Pfizer vaccine will be bottled at a plant in Swindon before being sent to Belgium and distributed around the world;
  • Sources claimed that the BBC is considering the introduction of a ‘no jab, no job’ rule for some of programmes in order to prevent a repeat of row over unvaccinated dancers on Strictly Come Dancing;
  • The Government was criticised for refusing to release details of emails involving leading scientists over the origins of Covid-19;
  • The number of people currently in hospital with Covid fell to 6,733 – the lowest level since August 22. Official figures reported 121 deaths yesterday, down almost 17 per cent week-on-week, with 768 hospital admissions, down 12 per cent;
  • The global coronavirus death toll passed five million, with half of those perishing within the past eight months.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Health Secretary Sajid Javid (left) speak with staff as they view an MRI scanner during a visit to Leeds General Infirmary in West Yorkshire

England’s players pose for a team photo before the UEFA EURO 2020 qualifying group A match between England and Montenegro at Wembley

Care home staff who refuse the Covid vaccine should ‘get out and get another job’, Sajid Javid has said.

In a furious attack on people who ‘cannot be bothered’ to get the jab, the Health Secretary said he is ‘very clear’ they should not be working with the country’s most vulnerable people.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme yesterday, Mr Javid said: ‘If you want to work in a care home you are working with some of the most vulnerable people in our country, and if you cannot be bothered to go and get vaccinated then get out and go and get another job.

‘If you want to look after them, if you want to cook for them, if you want to feed them, if you want to put them to bed, then you should get vaccinated.’

Mr Javid added: ‘If you are not going to get vaccinated then why are you working in care?

‘If you think about your elderly relatives you might have in care homes, and the idea that someone wants to look after them and they don’t want to take a perfectly safe and effective vaccine that has been approved by our regulators, been used all over the world, because somehow they have got some objection to this vaccine, then really, honestly, they shouldn’t be in our care homes.

‘They should go and get another job. I am very clear on that.’

The Health Secretary also refused to ‘pause’ next month’s rollout of a legal requirement for care home staff in England to be fully vaccinated.

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.

Liverpool have out-performed most of their rivals on that front, with Klopp revealing their vaccination rate is 99 per cent.

Klopp said: ‘I explain it a little bit like drink-driving. We were all probably in a situation where we had a beer or two and thought ‘I can drive’.

‘But this law is not there for protecting me, it is there for protecting all the other people because I am p**sed and want to drive a car. And we accept that as a law.

‘We all know alcohol is bad for our body but we still drink it. With the vaccination we assume it is not good for our body. Most specialists tell us the vaccination is the solution for the situation in this moment.’

Klopp said he believes it is his personal responsibility to consider the lives of others. He added: ‘I don’t take the vaccination only to protect me, I take the vaccination to protect all the people around me.’

Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston said: ‘I am really grateful for the many sports personalities who have leveraged their celebrity to encourage others to get the jab through campaigns and using their own social media platforms. They are role models and particularly influential with young people.

‘There will be some people unable to get the jab, but it is disappointing to hear there may be some footballers unwilling to get vaccinated, perhaps due to misinformation online.’

Mr Huddleston said work is being done with social media companies to tackle fake news about vaccinations, and he joined England’s deputy chief medical officer Jonathan Van-Tam in ‘strongly urging them to get vaccinated’.

Asked before the story’s publication about the vaccination rate in England’s squad, Southgate said: ‘I don’t know – our medical team would know but they wouldn’t be telling me who is and who isn’t.

‘We will have an idea because there is going to be some things where one group is going to go through one door and another will go through another over the next few months, so I don’t know quite how we are going to keep that medical confidentiality.

‘I don’t think with us it is going to affect us that much, because whenever the players are with us we’re always going to be in a bubble and on a sporting exemption, so I guess the bigger issue is going to be players going back to clubs or clubs travelling in certain countries.

‘What we do know is that, even with the vaccination, it’s not going to stop people catching it, so our concern on a broader welfare thing is helping everybody to get through this pandemic and I don’t see another way other than a huge vaccination programme frankly.

‘I am yet to be advised by those that don’t see it that way what the alternatives are.

England football manager Gareth Southgate claims he does not know which of his players are refusing to be vaccinated – but expects them to be ‘outed’ when the squad travels abroad

‘But from a managing the team perspective our risk because of their age is more about they are going to miss games because they catch it.

‘But actually, even if they are vaccinated, we still have to take those precautions because they can still catch it and therefore be ruled out of games, so it’s a strange one for us.

‘I think we have to make the right representations because we have a responsibility to the broader public to help people get through the virus, but also I understand young people are going to have individual views on how they see it and they’re going to be influenced by what they read and what they see, so it is a far from straightforward cycle.’ 

He predicted, however, that they would be exposed during Covid checks when ‘one group is going… through one door and another will go through the other over the next few months… So I don’t know quite how we are going to keep that medical confidentiality.’

Reports of England stars shunning vaccines came as Liverpool’s manager Jurgen Klopp, whose mother died of Covid-19, said refuseniks might as well argue that it is their right to drink and drive.

Revealing that 99 per cent of his players have been jabbed, Klopp said: ‘I didn’t have to convince the players. It was more a natural decision from the team.

‘We are not allowed to ask people if they are vaccinated but I’m allowed to ask a taxi driver, ‘Are you drunk?’ If he says, ‘I don’t have to tell you’, then I say OK I don’t drive with you, no problem.’

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