EFL players urged to get Covid jab as infertility fears dismissed by expert

The drive comes after data shows a third of players in the Championship, League One and League Two have either not yet been jabbed or have no plans to do so

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The English Football League (EFL) is trying to encourage players from all 72 clubs to get vaccinated against Covid-19.

A Q&A session took place with deputy chief medical officer Professor Jonathan Van-Tam earlier this week.

During the hour-long session, managers and captains from across the Championship, League One and League Two joined representatives from the Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA), League Managers Association (LMA) and the EFL to ask questions on behalf of their colleagues.

Data collated in August by the EFL showed that approximately 70 per cent of players across the three divisions were fully vaccinated, had had a single jab or intended to be vaccinated.

Deputy Chief Medical Officer for England, Jonathan Van-Tam

At that time approximately 30 per cent of players said they did not plan on getting vaccinated.

A report in the Mail suggests that one player involved in the session asked if the vaccine could reduce his fertility. The claim was dismissed by Van-Tam, who also emphasised that being jabbed would not have any impact on pregnant wives or girlfriends.

Professor Van-Tam and other specialist doctors also on the call talked about how footballers have been hospitalised with Covid-19 and that getting ‘long Covid’ could severely impact the careers of professional players.

Birmingham City goalkeeper Neil Etheridge was admitted to hospital earlier this year after contracting the respiratory disease. He spent time in intensive care before making a full recovery back to playing.

Neil Etheridge of Birmingham City was hospitalised after contracting Covid-19

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Professor Van-Tam and his colleagues also stressed during the Q&A session that there are no animal products in vaccines and no alcohol in the Pfizer vaccine.

It was also pointed out that players in the top four divisions of English football have been hospitalised after catching Covid-19, and that getting vaccinated is the most effective line of defence.

An EFL spokersperson told the Mirror : “The EFL facilitated a meeting between Jonathan Van-Tam (JVT) and other medical experts with EFL managers and captains on Monday to outline the benefits of getting vaccinated while addressing questions and myths.

“Following the meeting, the EFL provided players with an information video featuring JVT with the key info covered.

“The EFL is providing additional material that encourages players to get vaccinated, with the aim to myth bust and educate on the details – this includes information documents and advertising in player facilities (posters, leaflets etc).”

Middlesbrough chief Neil Warnock has been especially vocal about those players who refuse to be jabbed.

Neil Warnock has been critical of players who refuse to get the vaccine

The 72-year-old, who contracted the virus a year ago, said last month: “I’ve no idea where they’re getting their advice from, but I think it’s the wrong advice.

“For whatever reason, the majority of the players don’t have vaccinations which I think is wrong. That’s how it goes.

“We’ve had a few little sniffs of the virus which we’ve got to overcome. We’re still getting tested every day.”

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