Premier League reports boost in vaccination rates but still lags behind in Europe

October 20 – The Premier League has announced that 68% of players in the English top flight have been fully vaccinated, with 81% of players having received at least one dose, confirming a significant increase in uptake recently.

At the end of September, there were only seven clubs in the Premier League where more than 50% of players were fully vaccinated, which led to health and safety concerns in and outside the game.

“Vaccination rates are collected by the Premier League on a weekly basis and the League continues to work with clubs to encourage vaccination among players and club staff,” said the Premier League in a statement.

Earlier this month, Jurgen Klopp lamented Premier League players who had not taken the vaccine, stressing that at Liverpool it was not much of an issue. “I can say we have 99% vaccinated,” explained the German coach. “I didn’t have to convince the players, it was more a natural decision from the team. I cannot remember really talking to a player in a one-on-one situation and explaining to him.”

He compared the situation to “drink-driving” and that it was about protecting “all the people around me.” Klopp is among a slate of Premier League coaches, including Pep Guardiola, Mikel Arteta, Nuno Espirito Santo, Steve Bruce and Graham Potter, who have called on players to get vaccinated.

Guardiola, who lost his mother to Covid-19, said that vaccination was “the only solution”.

England manager Gareth Southgate offered an explanation for the low vaccination rate among top flight players in the English Premier League, pointing at both the age of the players and the influence of social media. He said: “At their age, they are more open to some of these conspiracy theories. They are reading social media more, they are perhaps more vulnerable to those sorts of views. From what I can see there is a bit of confusion around.”

The Premier League said that it would “continue to work with clubs to encourage vaccination among players and club staff”.  The league’s vaccination rate, however, remains low. Last week, the Bundesliga said 94% of its players were fully vaccinated and the Italian press reported that 98% of players in Serie A received two doses.

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