Everton’s Richarlison shares a picture of himself getting his second Covid-19 vaccination
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette were among the four players ruled by the Premier League opener against Brentford after testing positive for Covid-19. Willian and Alex Runarsson were the other two.
Manager Dean Smith has admitted that ‘not everyone has been vaccinated’. “We definitely urge everyone to get vaccinated,” Smith said. “We have a dedicated medical person on the case. It’s something we certainly encourage.’
The club said their youth players took advantage of the offer to get vaccinated on a Turf Moor pop-up site before the senior team’s home game against Leeds. Young fans are also encouraged to seize the opportunity.
Thomas Frank said the club emphasizes the social duty of players to get the jab. “We all have a responsibility to do our best to fight this pandemic,” he said. ‘We can do that by being pricked. That’s my advice. But everyone has their own choice.’
Manager Graham Potter, who lost a 48-year-old relative to the virus, said there was unease among players about the vaccine. When asked if the players’ opinions were divided, he replied: ‘Yes, it’s not unanimous. There are concerns and it is important that those concerns are addressed.’
Striker Romelu Lukaku says he has been double vaccinated, adding: “I have high-risk relatives. It’s up to you as a player. All we can do is be careful with the general population, because we have a lot of responsibilities.”
Manager Patrick Vieira has said the club is working hard to train players but would not mandate vaccines. “What we’ve done at the club is talk about Covid and explain what Covid really is, and the impact it can have on themselves, family and other people around them,” he said.
Midfielder Fabian Delph posted a quote on Instagram sharing anti-vaccination. Manager Rafael Benitez said: ‘We know the problems with Covid. We have a lot of players who isolate and this is a problem for the team.”
Midfielder Thiago is still one of the few players to express his support for the vaccination. “We are lucky to have access to it,” he said over the summer. ‘We run less risk in our profession, but the vaccine has priority in the world.’
Midfielder and Euro 2020 star Kalvin Phillips showed his support for the jab by opening the vaccination center on Elland Road, while striker Patrick Bamford was praised by City Council for his positive coverage of Covid protocols.
Brendan Rodgers, who lost players last season after breaking Covid rules, has said getting vaccinated should be up to the players. “It’s a personal choice and it’s ultimately up to the individual,” he said.
Pep Guardiola hopes the club’s medical department will convince players to get a shot. “The doctors can do it,” he said. “The players need to know that it can protect them and the rest of society, but no one can force them to do it.”
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer revealed vaccine hesitancy among his team. “Some of them are already fully vaccinated, others are not sure,” he said. “But we’re going to have a bigger session with them because it’s important that everyone knows what it’s about.”
Manager Daniel Farke says Premier League players are less likely to get jabs than their native German counterparts because they are under less social pressure. “The social and political pressure seems to me to be much less here,” he said.
“Many of our players who haven’t had the shot,” said boss Steve Bruce. “It’s their prerogative. We’ve had two or three players who were very sick with Covid, so we’ve seen the seriousness of it first hand. But there are many conspiracy theories.’
Forward Theo Walcott videotaped the NHS after getting his second jab urging others to do the same. “I encourage everyone to take note and get their vaccinations when asked,” he said.
Nuno Espirito Santo said: ‘I respect all personal choices – each of us should decide – but I am for the vaccine and I would [encourage] all players to get the vaccine.’
Xisco, the manager, echoed the sentiment of managers who said players should not be vaccinated. “All I can say is it’s a personal situation,” he said. “In my case, I’ve had the vaccine. It’s important, but it’s a personal decision.”
Winger Adama Traore belonged to the Spanish squad that was vaccinated for the European Championship this summer. The club’s summer schedule under 23 has been disrupted by cases of coronavirus among scheduled opponents.
Vice chairman Karren Brady said some players still wouldn’t get the jab if it was mandatory. “Some will still say ‘no’.” she said. “You understand why fit young people who live in a bubble and get tested every few days don’t shy away from it.”