He said most footballers especially the younger ones, tend to follow social media trends which were where the conspiracy against the covid-19 vaccine originated from.
Since the World Health Organization approved a set of covid-19 vaccines a few months ago, there have been a series of conspiracy theories linked to it. Some believe that the vaccines come with a series of health risks, others attach some mythical inclinations to it.
Footballers have been told to be a good example to their fans by taking the vaccine but such a call has yielded little or no impact. Some are still very skeptical about the whole idea.
In a pre-match press conference ahead of England’s FIFA World Cup qualification match against Andorra, Gareth Southgate admitted that some of the footballers who have been vaccinated are scared to publicize it because of the backlash they could get on social media.
While acknowledging that he has taken the vaccine, Gareth Southgate said he decided to take the “risk” because he trust that the medical experts and the government are certain that the vaccine is healthy enough for human consumption.
He however stressed that he could not say how safe it is for one to take the vaccine because he is not a chemist nor a medical practitioner.
When asked about the number of players in the current England squad who have received the complete dose of the coronavirus vaccine, Gareth Southgate said he was not sure.
“I think within the age group and age range (of his players) – I don’t have all the data and statistics – I would sense that younger people are at a different scale in terms of uptake to older people,” he said.
“They seem to be more susceptible to social media posts or living their lives on social media, where a lot of those theories may abound. We might just talk to our GP and do things that way.
“But look, who knows, I could be sitting here in five years and have been wrong. With some of the other issues, it’s been very clear what’s right and what’s wrong. I’ve been willing to speak about that, but could I 100 percent say that the vaccination program is safe? Well, I couldn’t because I’m not a chemist and I’m not a doctor and I’m not a scientist.
“I would imagine we wouldn’t be in the position we are on the mass vaccination program without research having happened and without governments and medical people being totally sure, so I am comfortable in taking that risk.”
On why footballers are not speaking up in support of accepting the coronavirus vaccines, Southgate reflected on when he made a video for NHS calling on people to accept the vaccine. All he got in return from the people was an insult.
Hence, the coach said he would not be in the best position to advise players to mount a compaign in support of the vaccine.
“I recognize that others might feel less comfortable and have some anxiety,” he added. “That’s why it’s a bit more complicated and I guess that would be why perhaps they might feel less confident about speaking up.
“If you’re receiving messages when you support the program that say ‘You could be up in front of a Nuremberg type trial in 10 years and people are quite vicious with comments, it does make you think twice about speaking out.
“Because what if you are on the wrong side? At the moment I couldn’t be sure I am on the right side. I am comfortable that I’ve had the vaccine.
“I’m comfortable that I think it was the right thing to do a video for the NHS. But I also recognize that others might not be so keen to put themselves in that situation.
“With racism, they are absolutely clear. They know what they have lived through and experienced as a team.
“At their age, they are more open to some of these conspiracy theories because they are reading social media more, they are perhaps more vulnerable to those sort of views. From what I can see there is a bit of confusion around.”