Football/Soccer

I respect the right of players not be get vaccinated: Ireland boss Stephen Kenny

Republic of Ireland head coach Stephen Kenny says there are a number of factors why some top players haven't been fully vaccinated
From Brendan Crossan in Abbotstown

REPUBLIC of Ireland manager Stephen Kenny says he respects the right of top level players not to get vaccinated.

Speaking at yesterday’s squad announcement ahead of Ireland’s upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Portugal (a), Azerbaijan (h) and Serbia (h) next month, the Dubliner said there were a number of factors why some players hadn’t yet been vaccinated or fully vaccinated.

“Obviously Alan Byrne is the team doctor and medical director,” said the manager.

“He’s having conversations and so forth with players. There are a lot of personal issues people have. Some players have been caught between the first and second injection in England.

“There seems be a considerable gap between the first and second injections with the AstraZeneca.

“It’s not an ideal situation. Ideally, you’d want everyone vaccinated. That’s what we want. Everyone has a choice to make based on what they believe in and you have to respect it.”

Kenny, who left out goalkeeper Darren Randolph and Newcastle defender Ciaran Clarke for the upcoming games, didn’t go into detail as to how many of his 25-man squad had been vaccinated – but he did challenge the general perception that many top players have been ambivalent towards vaccination against COVID.

“A lot of players have had the vaccination, you know.

“It’s just some players have not. That’s a decision they’ve made. Some have their own reasons and we have to accept that.”

In the north, there are more than 30 per cent of the 18-29-year-old population that haven’t received their first jab while 86 per cent of the entire adult population here have received at least one jab.

In an interview with The Irish News, Armagh GAA player Dr Caroline O’Hanlon urged young people to get vaccinated.

“When the vaccine came out, we were seeing light at the end of the tunnel,” said Dr O’Hanlon.

“But with younger people not continuing the uptake it is impacting. I don't just think it's the anti-vax movement but there's an element of inconvenience and people not getting round to it.

“But I do think when there is necessity to have a vaccine passport for travel or entry to bars, the uptake increases because people realise it is going to impact on their day-to-day life. We can see how it has already impacted in the Republic and the UK.”

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Football/Soccer