Euro 2020: half of the Belgian team rejects the Covid jab for fear of side effects during the tournament

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Belgian footballers LEAVE the Covid vaccine with half of their Euro 2020 squad refusing to take the Pfizer jab, fearing the side effects could ruin their chances of winning the tournament

A number of Belgian players have turned down the chance to receive a Covid-19 vaccination ahead of Euro 2020, reports claim – with about half of the squad fearing side effects could destroy their hopes for the tournament.

The country’s government had given the go-ahead for players to receive the jab, with the Belgian Football Association insisting it was a “very important” move as they tried to win their first-ever trophy as a country.

Belgium – which is ranked as the number one international team in world football – kicks off their European Championship campaign against Russia in Saint Petersburg on June 12.

According to reports, half of the Belgian squad has refused a Covid jab for Euro 2020

According to reports, half of the Belgian squad has refused a Covid jab for Euro 2020

The country's government allowed the players to get the Pfizer shot to protect them

The country's government allowed the players to get the Pfizer shot to protect them

The country’s government allowed the players to get the Pfizer shot to protect them

A handful of stars – including Toby Alderweireld, Timothy Castagne, Thibaut Courtois and Thomas Vermaelen – would all have gotten their shots.

But because the team was seen as one of the favorites to win the league, some players refused to take the Pfizer jab in case it hindered their performance, the Belgian outlet said. HLN.

Side effects of the vaccine include fatigue, headache, muscle aches, chills, joint pain and fever – which can affect more than one in 10 people.

Thibaut Courtois (pictured) would have been one of the players who accepted the vaccine

Thibaut Courtois (pictured) would have been one of the players who accepted the vaccine

Thibaut Courtois (pictured) would have been one of the players who accepted the vaccine

Belgium, which reported 1,498 Covid cases on June 1, has struggled with the virus this year and only started coming out of lockdown last month – with the opening of non-essential shops and restaurants.

Professor Dirk Ramaekers, head of the Belgian Task Force COVID-19 Vaccination Strategy, allayed fears over the refusals to be vaccinated.

He said a number of players had already gotten their shots, while some would rather get theirs after Euro 2020 ends.

“A number of Red Devils had already been vaccinated abroad, some of them recently went through Covid,” he said.

The Belgian vaccinator insists that Roberto Martinez and the team remain in favor of Covid shots

The Belgian vaccinator insists that Roberto Martinez and the team remain in favor of Covid shots

The Belgian vaccinator insists that Roberto Martinez and the team remain in favor of Covid shots

‘The latter have antibodies and prefer to be vaccinated after the tournament. Of those who had not been vaccinated, the vast majority had themselves vaccinated upon arrival in our country.

Ramaekers said the squad and coach Roberto Martinez were “very pro-vaccine” and only “one or two” players don’t want to get their shots.

“I look at it positively and notice that the players – with guys like Mertens, Lukaku and Hazard in the lead – as well as the federation and the coach are very pro-vaccination,” he added.

‘Within the group, the majority is protected. The group protection is great because those guys will be living in a highly isolated environment for the next few weeks. On the field, all participating teams will protect their players as much as possible with vaccinations and tests.’

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