Manchester United are still a long way from getting the majority of their squad vaccinated against coronavirus and their rivals are getting frustrated with the club over the issue, according to reports.
Sportsmail revealed last week that there is widespread opposition to vaccines among Premier League footballers, with almost two-thirds of top-flight players yet to be fully jabbed, and many refusing altogether.
Only a handful of Premier League clubs are believed to be close to 100 per cent vaccinated among their playing staff. Liverpool and Leeds are understood to be considered in that category, while fellow top-flight sides Wolves and Brentford have been public in stating recently that the majority of their squads have been jabbed.
But according to The Times, Man United’s lack of Covid-19 uptake has frustrated the rest of the league, who see the Red Devils as the biggest and most influential club in the country.
The report adds that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s squad are not close to the likes of Liverpool and Leeds in terms of their high vaccine uptake, despite the opposite message coming out of the club.
Manchester United’s lack of Covid vaccine uptake has frustrated the rest of the Premier League, say reports
The Red Devils are reportedly not close to the likes of Liverpool and Leeds (both pictured) whose squads are close to 100 per cent fully vaccinated
Overall, data came out last week stating that only seven clubs’ squads are more than 50 per cent fully vaccinated in England’s top-flight league. The data is surprising given a Mail on Sunday found that a quarter of Premier League first-team squads have had Covid during the pandemic.
A Premier League document stated: ‘We are considering if and how best we can “reward” those squads/players who are most Covid-compliant and who have opted to be vaccinated.’
Jurgen Klopp, manager of United’s arch-rivals Liverpool, admitted his disbelief at the sheer number of players who are refusing to get the coronavirus jab last week, by reiterating the argument that the vaccine helps other people as well as individuals.
The German, whose mother passed away from Covid-19 last year, said: ‘We’ve all probably been in the situation where we had a beer or two and thought we still could drive but the law says we’re not allowed to, so we don’t.
‘This law is not for protecting me, it’s for protecting all the other people. The vaccination is the same.
Liverpool’s Jurgen Klopp (above) could not believe how many players have refused the jab
‘I don’t understand why that is a limitation of freedom because, if it is, then not being allowed to drink and drive is. I got the vaccination because I was concerned about myself but even more so for everyone else around me.
‘If I get it and suffer – my fault. If I get it and spread it around to everyone else – my fault and not their fault. Where did I get the knowledge from that I think it makes sense to get the vaccination? I called doctors who I’ve known for years. Most specialists tell us the vaccination is the solution for the situation in this moment.
‘I think we (at Liverpool) can say we have 99 per cent vaccinated. I didn’t have to convince the players, it was more a natural decision from the team. I can’t remember really talking to a player and convincing him why he should because I’m not a doctor.
‘What I would give, like in a lot of other situations, would be my advice – but it was not necessary.’
Man United’s Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said in August he cannot convince his players to get jabbed
Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer revealed at the end of August that he is vaccinated – but maintained that he could not force any of his players to join him in getting jabbed.
The Norwegian told a pre-match press conference at the time: ‘They (his players) are not all double jabbed, no. I am, put it that way.
‘I encourage the lads to take the vaccination but we can’t force anyone to do that. We’re still wanting everyone to be double-jabbed and it’s up to them, and it’s still possible to take them.’
The vaccine debate is also touching the England national team, after reports emerged this week that at least five Three Lions stars have refused to take the coronavirus jab.
Gareth Southgate is concerned about the reluctance among England players to take the jab
Olivia Naylor (left), the partner of England’s John Stones (right), reposted an anti-vaxx message this week to her 45,000 Instagram followed. It is not known whether Manchester City Stones is one of the five England players to have turned down the jab
Earlier this week, the partner of Manchester City and England star John Stones reposted an anti-vaxx message on Instagram to her 45,000 followers. Beauty clinic boss Olivia Naylor uploaded a recent post highlighting comments from NBA basketball star Jonathan Isaac, who claimed he’d be protected from the virus by natural immunity.
It is not known whether the England international is one of the five Three Lions stars to have refused the coronavirus vaccine but there are fears that his partner’s post will dissuade other people from getting the jab.
World football governing body FIFA made the first clear statement of its kind on the issue this week, with a spokesman saying: ‘We encourage COVID-19 vaccinations and endorse the World Health Organization’s position: safe, fair, and equitable access is critical in all countries. Players should not receive priority access to vaccines.’
World football governing body FIFA have put their support towards getting the vaccine
However, FIFA are also talks with Qatari authorities about scrapping the mandatory vaccination requirements for the World Cup tournament at the end of 2022, practically ending any doubts that unvaccinated players will not be allowed to compete at the event next year.
England manager Gareth Southgate was part of an NHS appeal to convince members of the public to get the jab towards the start of the vaccine roll-out, though the Three Lions boss admits he is in the dark over his own squad’s status.
‘Our medical team would know (how many are vaccinated) but even I wouldn’t,’ he said last week.
‘What we do know is that even with the vaccination it is not going to stop people catching it. So in terms of our concerns, on a broader welfare thing, it is helping everybody to get through this pandemic and I don’t see another way other than a vaccination programme.’