Finally! A footballer willing to talk about getting the vaccine… Ipswich striker Joe Pigott says ‘it’s a MUST’ for fellow pros to take the jab as Premier League players remain silent about the benefits of the Covid- vaccination
- Premier League players are reluctant to promote Covid vaccination
- A planned campaign video with players had to be stopped
- Ipswich Town striker Joe Pigott said it was a ‘must’ for him to get the jab . to get
Premier League footballers have been noticed lately for their silence about the benefits of the Covid vaccination.
They are so reluctant to promote the jab that a planned campaign video featuring the biggest players would have been halted due to a lack of volunteers.
It is clear that clubs hoped that players would use their role model status to encourage young people to get vaccinated, although they were not helped in that task by the relatively large number of footballers who have turned down the jab.
Ipswich striker Joe Pigott has expressed support for vaccine, saying it was a ‘must’ for him
Still, one player is willing to speak up and say he was pinned to both do his bit for society and protect vulnerable loved ones.
When asked if other young people should follow suit, Joe Pigott, the forward from Ipswich Town, said: ‘One hundred per cent. For society. Not even that. Mainly for your family. I have a few people in mine who are vulnerable. For me it was a must.’
Pigott’s father Martin has been battling cancer for three years but has been lucky enough not to contract the disease, with the family carefully adhering to Covid safety protocols.
Martin has been able to attend his son’s matches in League One. “Touch wood, none of them have caught it yet. It’s pretty amazing they didn’t,” Pigott, 27, said. “Being double vaxxed was a huge deal to spend time with them.”
Pigott estimates that more than a third of football players in his circle have chosen not to get stung, partly because they feel no threat from the disease, but also because of conspiracy theories that question safety.
Premier League players from all clubs have been particularly silent about taking the vaccine
“I would probably put it at 60-40 among players. I’d say there’s a pretty high percentage that’s against it. There are clearly both sides [to the debate]. Some players think the virus won’t actually affect them after all, so why should they have a vaccine for it? Which is probably true in most cases, but the point is to protect everyone else.
“Some are also concerned with these conspiracy theories. But in the end you have to listen to the experts. The experts are in those positions for a reason.
“I just looked at all the reliable places that I thought gave the best information. The vaccines: The tests they go through, it’s the same as any other vaccine they put out, but they just did it in a shorter amount of time. It was a no-brainer once I knew the facts.’
The latest data collected by the English Football League shows that a third of players are not fully vaccinated, while the figure is said to be significantly higher at Premier League clubs.
A handful of players, including Ben Chilwell, have contributed to campaigns to promote the jab this summer
A handful of elite players contributed to campaigns promoting the jab this summer, including Theo Walcott, Ben Chilwell, Dwight McNeil and Ben Gibson of Norwich, while managers have encouraged players to get vaccinated.
Clubs are keen to see more players vaccinated, both to prevent winter breakouts within the squad and to improve their prospects of traveling abroad with fewer restrictions.
Vaccination coverage is declining in the general population, especially among young people. Asked if more players should lend their support to the government’s vaccination campaign, as well as get stung themselves, Pigott said: “I think they definitely should. Simply because of the impact it has on everyday life.
‘I don’t know what the risk is – 0.01% chance? – that something could go wrong or very wrong. Its benefits are too great not to have one.’
Former Bristol City player Georgia Wilson hit hard by coronavirus
Footballers who refuse the Covid vaccination in the belief that the disease poses little threat to their physical health may want to consider the plight of former Bristol City player Georgia Wilson.
Wilson suffered so badly when she was hit by the coronavirus early this year that she suspects it led the Women’s Super League club to opt not to renew her contract over the summer.
“My confidence has never been lower,” Wilson says. “Before I knew it was Covid for a long time, I thought I was just unfit. Other girls who tested positive came straight out of their isolation and went back to training.
“But I found it hard to breathe and I couldn’t concentrate properly. And when I got home from training, I just went to sleep.’
Only antibiotics and a break of several months from physical activity cured her symptoms. ‘I was really low. I wondered if I would play again and of course I didn’t play half the season, so the club didn’t stop me.’
Fortunately, the 19-year-old – who was promoted to the Bristol City first team at the age of 17 – has been able to revive her career with AaB in the Danish top league. ‘It was perfect. I had always wanted to play abroad and their season started earlier, so I was able to work on my fitness earlier than in the WSL.”
She was eventually vaccinated in Denmark and is encouraging her colleagues in the men’s Premier League to do the same. “I would certainly encourage them to do that. I was probably the same before I got Covid.
‘I wasn’t too worried. I thought I would isolate for 10 days and go again. But it doesn’t matter how old you are. Everything can happen.’