Government and sports officials continue to apply pressure on Premier League football which is said to have the “worst vaccination rate in the world”. They have been left wondering how else they can increase uptake now that suggestions of rewards for clubs with high jab rates and an ‘education campaign’ featuring Professor Jonathan Van Tam, England’s Deputy Chief Medical Officer, appear to have fallen flat among players. The Mail on Sunday has the story.
A Mail on Sunday survey has found that almost all other top leagues have a much higher vaccine take-up rate than English football.
Even tennis – which has had a similar issue with vaccine hesitancy – is threatening to outstrip English football, with the take-up rate on the ATP Tour having improved by around 20% over the past six weeks.
Rival sports have attributed their success to reasons that include top athletes promoting the jab and tougher restrictions for unvaccinated players, neither of which have happened in the Premier League.
This has been done in some American sports such as the NFL, who have more than 95% of their players and staff fully-vaccinated despite a number of high-profile refuseniks with some franchises as high as 100%.
They credit star players and coaches coming out as strong vocal advocates for vaccination as a key factor in their high number, such as Superbowl-winning coach Bruce Arians.
“That has had a huge impact in dressing rooms,” NFL Chief Medical Officer Dr. Allen Sills told the Mail on Sunday. “Young and less experienced players look up to them and want to be as successful in the same way. It speaks to have people who have the trust of the players. That has been incredibly important.”
The Premier League has lacked such a spokesperson among top players with conspiracy theories about virility and heart defects being shared amongst WhatsApp groups.
They were unable to persuade its players to take part in a similar publicity campaign despite myth-bunking [sic] videos from… Jonathan Van-Tam. …
The Premier League still lags behind. Of its 20 clubs, 13 were understood to have vaccination rates of less than 50%, according to a letter sent to clubs in September. This figure is likely to have risen slightly.
The most recent set of Football League figures, revealed by Sportsmail last week, had just 49% of players fully vaccinated. A quarter of EFL players effectively said they were not planning to get jabbed.
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