Blind Hammer on players and vaccines
- Blind Hammer looks at Vaccine Hesitancy amongst players.
The occupational requirement to take Vaccines is not, contrary to the belief of many, new.
In order to start my first professional job as a Residential Social Worker, back in 1978 , I had to receive a whole range of vaccines, including Polio, Tetanus booster, amongst others.
The point about the requirement for these Vaccines then and now, is that whilst they protected me, much more importantly they protected the children I cared for. It was an entirely reasonable occupational requirement.
I have absolutely no sympathy with those modern day care workers who demand the right to refuse taking a Covid Vaccine. In effect they are arguing for the right to dramatically increase the chance of illness and death for the vulnerable people they are caring for. Even worse they justified this irresponsibility with an unscientific denial of medical science.
Vaccine requirements are routine in many caring occupations. My daughter was not allowed to practice as a Doctor without having a range of vaccinations. This is entirely how it should be, the stakes are too high for the people they are caring for to avoidably increase the chance of passing on potentially fatal infection.
So what about players who refuse vaccines? On the face of it the situation is very different.
Professional footballers are not involved in providing hours of close and intimate personal care for vulnerable people at risk of serious illness or death from Covid.
There are however other kinds of high stakes that they are responsible for.
If games are cancelled because of Covid infections amongst players then there is a financial impact on both the club and fans. This is especially the case with late game cancellations where fans will have already booked travel tickets or even accommodation to attend a match. The cancellation at Villa was particularly disgraceful.
If Covid becomes rampant again, then the risk of games returning behind closed doors looms. Every game avoidably cancelled now risks returning in the future as a behind closed doors game, costing clubs millions in lost revenue. Hugh Southon reported a few days ago how a game behind closed doors costs West Ham £2.5 million per match in lost revenue.
There is also the avoidable risk that players with vaccine hesitancy are taking with their health and longer term football prospects.
Whilst there is some evidence of very short term impact on sports performance from taking Covid Vaccines, there is no evidence that this persists and the benefits far outweigh the risks a player runs from catching Covid. Covid provides risk of long term lung and organ damage for even younger people.
One of the teams worse affected by Covid infections last year was Newcastle United. Steve Bruce complained repeatedly how “”long covid” was debilitating his squad. It may be coincidence that this same group of players have struggled so badly this season but my deep suspicion is that last year’s Covid infections are still affecting some players, a situation exacerbated by Newcastle’s failure to refresh their squad over the Summer.
So the financial stakes in Players exercising their right to refuse vaccines can be dramatic for the club. it is also potentially deleterious for such player’s future value in the transfer market. Ironically players who refuse vaccines might be hitting themselves most in the pocket.
So far West Ham have avoided the worse outbreaks of Covid and long may that continue.
It is however entirely understandable that the club, as reported recently on Claret and Hugh may feel justified in vetoing the transfer in of any players wanting to indulge in Vaccine denial. It makes no sense for the club to invest millions in a player only to have that player avoidably invite longer term health difficulties.