An investigative report has claimed vaccine hesitancy remains rife in the Premier League as it alleges that two-thirds of players haven’t received the jab, as conspiracy theories surrounding the likes of Bill Gates run rampant.
Concerns are growing within the Premier League that senior players are misguiding younger players as to the potential dangers of receiving inoculation against Covid-19, according to an investigation conducted by the Daily Mail.
The wide-ranging report suggests that as many as two-thirds of Premier League players haven’t yet been double-jabbed against the potentially deadly virus, amid concerns that dressing rooms have been “polluted” by senior players spreading Covid-19 misinformation – such as theories that the vaccination can lead to infertility, vitamins are more effective as a treatment and the suggestion that Microsoft founder Bill Gates is backing a nefarious plan to ‘microchip’ the world’s population as part of the vaccine drive.
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The report also states that just seven of the Premier League’s 20 clubs have vaccination rates of more than 50% – with three clubs even reporting just a single-digit vaccine uptake in their squads.
And as one frustrated anonymous club doctor claimed to the Daily Mail, several high-profile players have fully subscribed to Covid misinformation and are citing it as a reason for their hesitancy.
“It’s very frustrating and hard to know what to do, as the conspiracy theories have really taken hold in some dressing rooms,” the doctor said. “We’ve got senior players, intelligent men, coming out with all sorts of nonsense and they won’t be budged. One of them told me he didn’t need the vaccine because he could boost his immunity by taking vitamins.
“Some of the stuff they’re reading – and believing – on the internet is incredible. Players are saying that it will make them infertile, that it’s part of a plot involving Bill Gates, the pandemic is just propaganda. The real problem is that they’re also polluting the minds of younger players.”
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The Bill Gates conspiracy theory has gained significant steam across the past 18 months and is thought to trace back to a talk given by Gates in March of last year in which he predicted that ‘vaccine passports’ would be implemented as a means of identifying who has or hasn’t received a vaccine.
Despite Gates making no mentions of microchips, several conspiratorial sources alleged that Gates was working to ‘track’ people with technology included as part of the vaccine injection – with a YouGov poll last year claiming that as many as 44% of Republicans believed that Gates was working with various vaccine distributors to add tracking chips to vaccine shots.
Furthermore, the report claims that many Premier League dressing rooms are seeing anti-vax trends fostered by senior players, something which has a trickle down effect on younger players within the squad.
It also suggests that there is an issue with some foreign players railing against being ‘told’ to receive a vaccine amid a larger mistrust of government, something seen as a symptom of different ethic and cultural backgrounds.
“This is obviously a very sensitive area, but there do seem to be particular problems among black players, possibly for cultural reasons,” the Daily Mail quoted an unnamed Championship manager as saying.
“I’ve had several black players tell me that the vaccine affects them differently. And of the five players at our club who are refusing to be vaccinated, four of them are black.”
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Others, though, say that the vaccine hesitancy prevalent at some of the Premier League’s biggest clubs is a signifier that player power has gotten out of control.
“A lot of it is down to ego, pure and simple,” the anonymous manager continued. “At some of the bigger clubs the players are clearly in charge. Footballers aren’t used to looking after themselves, so if it’s left up to them it won’t happen, and the clubs who weren’t quick to get players vaccinated are really struggling.”
But it seems as though unless the Premier League institutes a vaccination policy similar to that of the NFL in the United States, this situation isn’t going to change any time soon – regardless of the veracity of the reasoning for avoiding the shot.