Gareth Southgate bemoans being ‘shouted down’ over England vaccines after pair isolate
England head coach Gareth Southgate has bemoaned being ‘shouted down’ over his suggestion earlier this year that his Three Lions squad should each receive a coronavirus vaccine ahead of Euro 2020.
Mason Mount and Ben Chilwell will self-isolate until further guidance after coming into contact with Scotland midfielder Billy Gilmour, who tested positive for COVID-19 on Sunday.
The England pair were pictured with Gilmour in the immediate aftermath of their goalless draw with Scotland on Friday.
None of the squad are believed to have received the vaccine, which had been fully administered to over 31 million people in the United Kingdom according to figures published on Sunday.
And Southgate said after Mount and Chilwell were forced into isolation: “In terms of testing we had PCR tests, the mandatory tests yesterday for the pre-game.
“We’ve just followed that up today because of the situation that’s emerged with Scotland just as a belt and braces really to make sure we’re okay for people to travel together and eat together.
“In terms of the vaccinations, you need to go back to my suggestions in March around that where I was fairly firmly shouted down for daring to suggest anything of the sort.
“I did propose it but at the time I also said I totally understood where we stand in the pecking order for vaccinations.
“It’s more important the clinically vulnerable and everyone else receive those first. I felt we were getting to a point where that would be helpful.
“In actual fact the vaccinations wouldn’t stop you catching the virus so it might not necessarily have stopped this situation in fairness.
In March, Southgate suggested that pressure on the National Health Service could be eased if footballers receive the vaccine.
But the former Middlesbrough boss received criticism as footballers are likely to be in a low-risk category.
“Our vaccination programme has been incredible… nearly all the vulnerable people have had the first vaccine,” the 50-year-old said earlier this year.
“My view would have been we were close to getting to where it would have been acceptable for professional sportsmen to be on the list.
“We are asking them to keep playing, they’re having to quarantine when they come back from certain situations, they’re having to take some risk going back to families and a lot of them have caught the virus because they’ve been working.
“I was not suggesting they should have been ahead of key workers and teachers but we are getting close to the points where it could be acceptable.
“Actually, football could afford to save the NHS money by buying vaccines and administering them.”
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