Boston United’s most famous fan, Deputy Chief Physician Jonathan Van-Tam, is known for his colorful language. But he couldn’t be more direct in a message urging Premier League players to ignore myths surrounding the Covid-19 vaccine.
The Mail on Sunday can reveal that Van-Tam has told players he will ‘not mince his words’ in a video designed to provide footballers with ‘scientific facts they need’ to persuade them to commit. get vaccinated.
The health protection professor included the personalized message because of the vaccine hesitancy among Premier League and Football League players.
Introducing himself as a Boston season ticket holder and football fan, he directly takes on things like heart infections in an effort to convince players to get a shot.
He pledges to “be honest with you” and points out in the three-minute video the risk to their professional careers of long-term Covid and the benefits of vaccination, which clubs hope will give those who still persist in taking the vaccine. will convince.
The Mail on Sunday is aware of a number of Premier League clubs where a handful of players are still resisting, despite managers and medical staff desperate for players to be vaccinated as it makes traveling and training much easier and potentially allows the Premier League to relax strict social distancing rules in changing rooms.
Jonathan Van-Tam has urged Premier League stars to get the jab in a personalized video
Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has admitted not all his players have been vaccinated
Attackers Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (L) and Alexandre Lacazette (R) both contracted the virus
Clubs also fear the increased risk of Covid disrupting their season. Having experienced their worst start to the season, Arsenal have lost Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette, Ben White and Granit Xhaka to spells due to Covid, putting Mikel Arteta’s job at risk. It was confirmed that Xhaka had not been vaccinated before contracting Covid.
Van-Tam’s video has not been made public but is being distributed by clubs to players via WhatsApp videos and delivered in Van-Tam’s unique and direct style: “The best protection for you and for everyone – and I’m not chopping my words here – is the vaccine,” Van-Tam tells the players. “I’m going to give you some scientific facts that I think you as professional footballers need. . . ‘
He then goes on to cover one of the main reasons footballers have cited for not getting the vaccine, which is that it makes no sense because you can still get Covid.
Van-Tam says: ‘A few football players have been hospitalized with Covid. This is not a joke. If you get two doses of Pfizer, it reduces your chances of getting sick by 85 percent and your chances of ending up in the hospital or dying by 95 percent. It should be pretty clear that if you don’t get Covid, you can’t get Covid for long either. And you don’t want Covid for long if you’re a top athlete.’
Newcastle goalkeeper Karl Darlow was hospitalized with Covid and lost five kilos due to fatigue
Some players have had enough of teammates not being double-punched, because traveling abroad makes it difficult for the whole squad.
‘If you get a double shot, you no longer have to isolate yourself if you have close contact with a positive case,’ says Van-Tam. ‘All you have to do is make sure your tests remain negative. This way you miss less training sessions and competitions. Many countries are pushing for a Covid passport to travel and it will be difficult for players to (play in) European and international matches unless they are double-shot.’
He also directly addresses some side effects of the vaccine, including the very small risk of heart inflammation with the Pfizer vaccine. “A sore arm is quite likely,” says Van-Tam. Tired, headache, aches, maybe feeling a little sick. This very rarely lasts more than a few days.
Granit Xhaka chose not to be vaccinated but was forced to isolate herself after testing positive
“I’m sure you’ve read and I’m sure you’ve heard about serious side effects and I’m definitely going to play it fair with you.
‘They can occur, but are extremely rare. The one that has been talked about is heart inflammation. I’m telling you plainly and distinctly that that’s been documented as a risk. But the risks of heart inflammation are much, much higher from Covid than from having the vaccine.”
Some footballers are suspicious that the vaccine was developed so quickly, and Van-Tam addresses myths that concern some players for religious reasons that the vaccine contains alcohol or animal foods such as pork products, which would be problematic for some. muslims.
‘It has been developed quickly, there is no doubt about that,’ says Van-Tam. “But there was no skimping on the standards that had to be met.
“Some of the Covid vaccines contain traces of alcohol. But the Pfizer vaccine, the vaccine you’re likely to get in the UK if you’re under 40, contains absolutely no alcohol. And there are no animal products in any of the Covid vaccines we use in the UK.”
Fear of needles and a presumption of authority have been cited as reasons for a minority’s reluctance to be vaccinated. With the possibility of vaccine passports being introduced for major sporting events later in the winter, the Premier League could be in the awkward position of pushing for fans to be vaccinated but let unvaccinated players and staff into the stadium.
Newcastle boss Steve Bruce also revealed many of his players have not been vaccinated