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Monday, Oct 02, 2023

One quarter of footballers in  EFL 'DO NOT intend to get a Covid jab

One quarter of footballers in EFL 'DO NOT intend to get a Covid jab

Only 59 per cent of players have received two vaccinations, with a further 16 per cent having had a single dose and prepared to have another one. Low vaccination rates raise concern over infections.

One quarter of players in the Football League have no vaccination to Covid-19 despite months of encouragement from the EFL and clubs to get jabbed - and currently don't intend to have one.

Only 59 per cent of players have received two vaccinations, with a further 16 per cent having had a single dose and prepared to have another one.

The alarming figures have changed little in the last two months following a major push by the EFL, clubs and the deputy Chief Medical Officer for England Professor Jonathan Van Tam.

QPR had to call off Monday's Championship clash with Sheffield United due to an outbreak

Professor Jonathan Van Tam, a keen football fan, has encouraged players to have a jab

And they will raise significant concerns about the spread of Covid-19 among Football League clubs, with a tidal wave of infection surging across the country fuelled by the Omicron variant.

Last week, the Premier League identified 42 new cases of Covid among squads when it was testing players and twice a week. Subsequently, it has moved to daily testing with lateral flow kits plus two PCR tests a week.

And the infection is spreading. Now, Brentford, Manchester United, Chelsea, Norwich, Brighton, Leicester and Watford have all been affected.

There has been no mandatory testing in the EFL, raising questions about the level of infection that might already exist, although clubs have been free to test themselves.

On Monday, QPR had to call off a Championship clash with Sheffield United due to an outbreak of Covid.

Subsequently, the Hoops visit to Swansea was also postponed and yesterday it was confirmed that Reading's Sky Bet Championship match at home to Luton on Saturday has also fallen victim to a Covid-19 outbreak, along with Millwall's game against Preston.

As reported in Sportsmail, EFL clubs have been urging the league to introduce mandatory testing.

And today, league bosses have announced they will switch to 'red protocols' and demand daily testing.

'Clubs will be expected to implement a daily screening programme of testing, subject to supply chain availability of lateral flow tests,' the EFL said in a statement.

'Any person with a positive test of symptoms will then be required to take a PCR test and isolate in line with Government guidance.'

In addition, social distancing measures will be required outside of physical sessions, along with restrictions to the use of indoor facilities, therapy and group travel, among others.

Unlike last season, the league says it will not be releasing weekly updates about the number of players and staff who test positive.

Millwall's Championship match at Preston has been postponed because of a Covid outbreak

One quarter of footballers in the EFL say they currently do not intend to have a vaccination

The EFL's Medical Advisor, Dr Richard Higgins said: 'Further to enhanced medical guidance recently issued, in response to a growing number of COVID-19 cases and subsequent fixtures postponements in recent days, the EFL has opted to strengthen its protocols for all Clubs to help minimise the health risks to individuals while seeking to mitigate against the threat of further fixture postponements in the weeks ahead.

'Alongside enhanced protocols which includes mandatory testing ahead of matchdays, the EFL continues to strongly encourage players and staff at Clubs to get fully vaccinated and obtain a booster jab if eligible to do so.

'We know that getting double jabbed and boosted now will reduce the risk of getting seriously ill or dying from COVID-19, reduce the risk of catching or spreading COVID-19 amongst team-mates and loved ones, while helping protect against COVID-19 variants including Omicron.'

The EFL said it will be supporting the Government’s ‘Get Boosted Now’ campaign over the coming weeks.


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