Why England is the odd one out when it comes to player vaccinations?

By Tony Attwood

In the Bundesliga: 94 per cent of players have been fully vaccinated against Covid.   In Serie A the figure is higher: 98 per cent.   For La Liga it is 93 per cent. For Ligue 1 in France it is 95 per cent.   In the Premier League it is 77 per cent. The English Football League is at 59 per cent.  These figures come from the Telegraph.

As they say, “It is no coincidence that 60 per cent of Premier League matches were postponed last weekend along with 53 per cent in the Football League.   The other four big leagues didn’t have a single postponement.”

Now these figures are not presented as a way of trying to start a conversation that says “People should test themselves” or that “People should be jabbed.”

But it does strike me as interesting that the top leagues in  Germany, France, Spain and Italy have not lost a single match to Covid-19 this season and, they won’t because they are now going to shut down for the Christmas period, whereas we are going ahead with the traditional games across Christmas.

And taking the Telegraph’s figures, this is at a time when we have had more cases on Monday this week, than the whole of France, Spain, Italy and Germany combined.

Sowe have clubs where everyone has been vaccinated, and then other clubs where a lot of players are not willing to be vaccinated.    As the Telegraph report adds, “In October, it emerged that at least five England players and more than half of professionals across English football’s four divisions were refusing to get jabbed. A vaccine promotional video never got off the ground, reportedly because not enough high-profile players could be persuaded to front it.”

In the alternative approach Kylian Mbappe, “allowed himself to be photographed receiving the jab and was publicly thanked by President Emmanuel Macron when they were pictured together shortly before the Euros.”

The general approach seems to be in Europe that players have to be jabbed, or won’t be played, they have to be tested, they have to wear masks in confined spaces, and there are no players’ Christmas parties this year.  The report suggests that players in Germany who are not vaccinated are having their pay cut.

So why is it so different in England?

I’m going to veer away from football for the rest of this little article, and give my view as to why in England the situation is so different.

It has long been the policy of governments in the UK (such as the one we currently have) not to take the notion of society or organisations into consideration when forming policy, instead putting everything onto the shoulders of the individual.  Thus the trouble at the Euro final was the fault of the individuals who forced their way in.  The social situation, and the way the FA organised the event was not to blame.

In 1987 in an interview in the journal “Woman’s Own” which was headlined “No Such Thing as Society” Thatcher was quoted as saying, “I think we have gone through a period when too many children and people have been given to understand ‘I have a problem, it is the Government’s job to cope with it!’ or ‘I have a problem, I will go and get a grant to cope with it!’ ‘I am homeless, the Government must house me!’ and so they are casting their problems on society and who is society? There is no such thing! There are individual men and women and there are families and no government can do anything except through people and people look to themselves first.”

This notion that “there is no such thing” as society, has become a dominant force in political thinking for many governments since then and it justifies the reduction of the role of the state and replacing responsibility for all aspects of life on the individual.  Indeed a large percentage of the British electorate have constantly voted in the party that proclaims that view.

But there is a downside.  For as people come to believe that it is for the individual to decide, the individual can make his or her own decisions – such as not to wear masks in public places and not to obey lockdown regulations.

Such a situation is not insoluble, but when faced with a situation in which people are likely not to heed government advice on how to behave socially then it is hard work to convince people to take note of what is best for society.

Now to solve this, the government could have gone to sociologists and asked, “how are we going to convince people to do what we say?”   But they didn’t because of what has become a long-standing approach by governments of the right in the UK, not to consult social scientists at all.  And why would you when there is no such thing as society and when everything is the responsibility of the individual?

Thus the problem is not one just of football’s making, but of the dominant political class of the country.  Indeed the reason why so many people associated with the government have themselves be seen to be breaking the rules by having parties when social gatherings are forbidden, or travelling around the country during lockdown, is because the whole notion of social responsibility has been denigrated by the government since Thatcher’s speech on the BBC.

Thus disregarding government wishes and instead doing one’s own thing, has become a dominant mode of thought for many people.

One day we might get our sense of society and community back, but for now, it seems to be so far gone, that “I can decide” seems to be the dominant vision.  Which is ok sometimes, but not much use in a pandemic.


24 Replies to “Why England is the odd one out when it comes to player vaccinations?”

  1. Hi all,

    Judt to make two corrections.

    First: they are not vaccines, but medical devices or gene therapy, whose creator Dr Malone says should not be used on children, and you can add everyone to that.

    Secondly: see: flouridefreepeel.ca website.

    Collected over 140 Foi’s freedom of information requests to health departments in over 25 countries, asking for any records they have in their possession claiming to have isolated and purified a viral,sample from a patient. (Isolation as described in a dictionary

    All,responses to date admit they hold no such records. So Covid does not exist.

    Thirdly: it is well known that the PCR text cannot test for infectious disease. It is indeed fraud to use it for such.

    That is why the CDC in America has recalled it.

    The only virus is the government controlled msm.

    Hope you all have a nice Christmas.

    It dies make you wonder what is in these vials being injectedcinto unsuspectingbpeople without informed consent.

    I have a good idea what is in those vials, not including the placebo or saline.

    Regards Drew

  2. Exactly.

    Our political system has basically turned people into selfish b*****ds.

    They have been taught to think that personal freedom and the idea that you can do exactly as you wish is far more important than doing what is for the good of the all.

    But that is not how ‘society’ is supposed to work.

    If these anti vax people were faced with one individual with The Plague would they be okay allowing him:

    To roam the streets un checked ?

    To travel on their train ?

    To work in their office ?

    To sit in their stadium ?

    To sit in their living room ?

    I doubt it, but the way I hear some people talk I cant say for certain. It seems to me the fact he might kill me is irrelevant when compared to his right to do as he wants.

    It may be an extreme example, but this is where I feel we have arrived.

    It seems the notion of an individuals right to do as they wish trumps the notion of an individuals right to be kept safe.

    Whether that is right or wrong is a personal choice.

    Personally I like the notion of society. Maybe I’m just old, or more accurately maybe I’m just old fashioned.

  3. @Drew,

    yeah, I don’t know what’s in the shots, fact is that now after more then 6 months, I’m on personal terms with Bill Gates who controls the zombie I have become.

    As Tony wrot, this piece is not about pro or anti but highlighting the different approaches.

    Can you NOT understand that and NOT start your propaganda clip ? or are you some robot not versed in the meaning of sentences written in correct english ?

    For Chrisssake, this is a website about football and not some arena to play out culture wars ?

    Ps : I’m glad you are in the know. make a video and start earning your google adds pennies.

  4. @Nitram,

    is fascinates me that security belts are still mandatory. Where are all these people defending our right not to get shot? Because safety belts infringe onto our fundamental liberties. Some people die because of the seatbelt every year. When we need them to defend our choice not to belt up, where are they ?

    And why the frack do we have to pay tax on cigarettes ? It is a tax on smokers that is not right. It wants to force them to relinquish their freedom. And why are we not allowed to smoke anywhere ? You see, for decades, smoking was considered a medicine and advertised as such. Now this speech has been hampered, you can’t say it anymore : where is our freedom of speech ?!? It is a medicine, it is just a conspiracy that was built by governements so as to raise taxes and force people to live longer lives so they pay more taxes. And if people have lung problems, it comes from pollution. And I’ve seen many old smokers dying from something else then lung problems. Not from smoke. So after all it is a conspiration. Where are all these people fighting for our liberties when we need them ?!

    Ok, that was, just to be clear, hypothetical and ironic.

    So by that logic of individual liberty, society and governements should accomodate and not fight. We ought to change tack and just decide that unvaccinated covid patients pay more health insurance (you don’t want solidarity, why are you insured may I ask ?) and have a specific number of beds reserved for them in hospitals – and have them pay cash. If there are none available, they have to be put on a waiting list like any person needing a transplant, first come first serve. In the meantime, stay at home and wait by the phone.

    This way, their self-proclaimed defense of individual liberties is taken seriously and applied to it’s full extent : no solidarity from society to people who refuse to give solidarity to society. They are responsible for their own choices, and society does not interfere.

    As for testing, well, companies, authorities do test for alcohol, weed, drugs. So add Covid to the test. It does not get more individual.

    You cannot on one side scream for individuality and refuse to live by the consequences of your choice. You will have to be on your own.

  5. I know.

    These individuals will expect protection from ‘society’, via the law, should they be physically attacked or robbed.

    When their kids are playing in the street where is my freedom to endanger their lives by doing 70 MPH down their road if I want to ?

    I was going to list loads of these ‘freedoms’ that would endanger life were we not not constrained by societies ‘Laws’ and ‘regulations’, that all, in one way or another, stop us doing things we might want to do. But as you and I both know, it would be pointless.

    These people pick and choose what should and shouldn’t be controlled on the basis of what THEY do, and don’t want to do, it’s as simple as that.

  6. To people who say we should only talk about football, i can only say, do you really think what happens in society wont spill into football? COVID already spilled into football.
    It was once said humans are political animals. So by that extension, everyone and everything is political, including football. The people who tend to say dont be political tend to also be the same the same people who benefit from the status quo and therefore see no issues with upholding it.

    Please, think about your fellow men and women, the social contract we implicitly agreed to by continuing to exist and live in social contract exists for a reason. If you want to enjoy freedoms that endanger the safety of other people and by extension depriving them of their freedoms ( because your unvaccinated self killed them) you are welcomed to go live on an abandoned island and break the social contract. Absent of that, try not to deprive other people of their freedom to stay alive by refusing to get the shot. I am a scientist and believe me, while there are bad scientists too, they are not likely to be very wrong in the aggregate. Thats why dont listen to individual scientist, but the communitu. Science is always subject to change as more facts are known, and we are not too proud to revise information as it comes along. That is part of the scientific method. Cheers to Tony who is brave enough to broach the subject.

  7. Medical choices must be an individual decision. The speed at which this experimental gene therapy has been pushed on to the public without knowledge of long term effects or side effects is quite alarming. we have had the lowest average death rate in 5 years during the so called pandemic.We are talking about athletes who one would expect to have functional immune systems. There are hundreds of cases of sports persons having heart problems and collapsing on pitches since the jab has been introduced. We have manufacturers who have had the largest settlements in courts for damages caused by their products telling us their products are safe even though evidence suggest otherwise. There are people dying every day from the injection of this experimental material. I do not believe that anyone other than an experienced medical practitioner can offer advice on whether or not to allow any medical intervention. I certainly do not understand why the campaign against those exercising caution when it comes to their personal choices. Where does it all end? I am one of those who can not be given the vaccine for medical reasons and face discrimination because of it from people who do not have all the information.
    Legislation has been very clear since Nuremburg nobody should be forced into a medical procedure without their informed consent. lets not become criminal by coercing others into the jab. Lets respect their choices rather than bleating on about this like supporters of tyranny.

  8. a) Vaccines are not gene therapy. Current vaccines do not change your genes. Perhaps the confusion is that mRNA vaccines do interact with the DNA. However, I must inform you, many times during the day when your body makes a protein, it unzips your DNA and interacts with it. This is also what the mRNA is doing. It is still not gene therapy
    b) Gene therapy is not a boogey man and are not inherently bad, some scientists are trying to do amazing things with it, including curing cancer and AIDS.
    c) I cannot speak for all countries, but at least in my country we get a form to sign which informs us of the risks and we must give consent before receiving the vaccine, basically allowing us to give informed consent.
    d) Yes some manufacturers, like the cigarette manufacturers and oil companies, have lied to us for years, but that is why you should not listen to individual scientists, listen to the scientific community. The more interesting question is how the everyday public is able to access the science from the scientific community, that’s where I think we have an inefficiency and science popularizers become important.
    d) Laos gooner, if you have a medical exception nothing I have said applies to you, as scientists, we tend to speak in generalities and not exceptions, because sampling issues tend to hide exceptions in large datasets.
    e) If there is enough demand and genuine interest in fact finding, I would not mind doing an article here, of course with Tony’s permission, explain the vaccines and pandemic in general.

    Please stay safe all and merry Christmas!

  9. You are absolutely right Laos Gooner. My body, my choice should be the only thing that can apply to medical procedures.
    Also the fact that the pharma companies cannot be called to court if you get bad reactions is something that should make us a bit prudent.

    I have experienced two really bad reactions to the vaccines with close relatives. One is my 28 year old daughter suddenly getting a blood pressure from the normal 11-7 she had going to 18-12 in 2 days after her second jab. Now after 5 months she still has a blood pressure of 17-11. And now she is on medication (from Pfizer who gave the vaccin – pretty convenient for them…another money machine for them) for … well we don’t know for how long and the doctors don’t know. And that blood pressure she has is called a severly high (and possible dangerous) blood pressure. And that at such a young age and never had any problems with that before…. So forgive me for not running to the vaccination centre to take any jabs. But I feel everyone is free to go. I will not stop anyone. But she is not taking the third booster anymore. And so my daughter will be excluded from normal live in my country in a few months time…. is that the society we want? Well I don’t.

  10. This is also why the young and healthy have to be vaccinated, if not those who cannot get the vaccine will be in danger from those who are unvaccinated. Sticks and carrots definitely will have to be used, just to get us there.

  11. This is also why the young and healthy have to be vaccinated, if not, those who cannot get the vaccine will be in danger from those who are unvaccinated. Sticks and carrots definitely will have to be used, just to get us there.

  12. Sifarone

    I for one appreciate you banging the drum for the scientific community, or more accurately banging your head against a brick wall on behalf of the scientific community, but what chance have you got when someone says:

    “…..during the so called pandemic” SO CALLED !!

    and then someone says:

    “…..You are absolutely right”

    You are wasting your breath.

    As of the 24th of December 2021 the Corona virus Death Toll around the World stands at 5,402,557 deaths.

    This is what WHO says about the vaccine:

    “Dr Hans Henri P. Kluge, WHO Regional Director for Europe says, “COVID-19 has exacted a devastating death toll in our Region, (talking about Europe) but we can now categorically say that without COVID-19 vaccines as a tool to contain this pandemic, many more people would have died”.

    ““The COVID-19 vaccines are a marvel of modern science and what this research shows is that they’re doing what they promised, that is saving lives, offering very high protection against severe illness and death. In some countries, the death toll would have been double what it is now without the vaccines. It is therefore critically important that all Member States in the European Region achieve high coverage for people in the at-risk groups as soon as possible. Countries with lower vaccination uptake rates must continue to prioritize those who are at highest risk and protect the vulnerable groups as rapidly as possible.”

    Science has kept millions upon millions of people alive for years, including myself and many members of my family and I have absolutely no doubt most of the people now deriding science as trying to kill us, or at the very least put us in danger.

    Science and the modern medicines it has created has extended the average life span of the human race to double what it was before it’s discoveries.

    Without science and the medicines it created, including many many vaccines, of which some are already compulsory for freedom of movement throughout the World, I would not be here to read this nonsense, and I suspect many writing it would not be here to write it either.

    As these people seem to have so little faith in the scientific community I do hope they exercise their right to freedom of choice and have the decency to practice what they preach and choose to never touch another medication again.

    Good luck with that.

    But rather than the general scientific community these people pick and chose any individual that says something that suits their point of view, whether they are an ‘outlying’ scientist or ‘Wee Jock Poo Pong McPlop’, a blogger residing alone in a cottage on the outskirts of Stony Bridge.

  13. So disappointing to see Untold has become a vehicle for this Antivaxx bullshit. I’d expected better.
    By all means make your own personal choice to accept or reject the vaccines. But you must then also take responsibility for that choice. Vaccines have allowed the world to reopen to some degree. More accurately, people getting vaccinated have allowed the world ( including football) to reopen. The scientific data is overwhelming in that regard, not even close. If you don’t contribute to that you shouldn’t expect to benefit from it. You certainly shouldn’t be entitled to hinder it.
    Stay unvaccinated if you choose, but then stay the hell at home and don’t expect the rest of us to provide the environment for you to enjoy at our expense.
    Society DOES exist and it brings great benefits and requires responsibility from people to make it work. Get jabbed or stay the hell home.

  14. Nitram,

    I work daily with many people and really, they are too busy with their lives to have the bandwidth to study up on vaccines. I dont fault the average person who is misinformed, they do not have the resources, either that be time, money or connections, to gather information. What I do find immensely troubling is the amount of people with large platforms who peddle nonsense. They have the resources, and should not get the same benefit of the doubt. We are all flawed and clueless, just in different aspects of life, I have seen that most people are just misinformed by people they trust. It is up to the people in charge, ie governments, to take the inform the public properly while dealing with the misinformation at the same time. I do not envy their task.

    Also we cannot just dismiss or give up on people who refuse to get the vaccines. In US, only about 60 percent is fully vaccinated, so a significant portion, 40 percent, is still unconvinced. This is too large a portion of people to dismiss away, we should try to reach them anyway we can, however futile it maybe.

    Haha, we did not even given up on arsenal through the fallow years. I think we should keep the faith with people too.

  15. Sifarzone
    With respect, people don’t seem to need ‘bandwidth’ to study up on the minute details of virtually anything else they consume. They trust science in everything from a simple paracetamol to hi tech chemotherapy treatment.
    They don’t have any deep interest in what goes into making the myriad of alco pops and other ‘recreational’ substances which are consumed in vast quantities. This resistance to Covid vaccines is as much to do with equating anecdotal nonsense (my cousin’s friend grew a third ear in the middle of his face) and malicious, social media facilitated vandalism on one side with serious, peer reviewed and proven scientific research on the other.
    As for the US, well 70 million of them voted to re-elect Trump ( a virus every bit as bad as Covid). They are overwhelmingly more likely to be the unvaccinated and mostly as a political statement. They are sadly learning the hard way that their AR15s are of little use against a virus.
    Requiring a Covid passport to access all non essential parts of the economy (including playing and attending football) is the best way to test the resolve of those who refuse to be responsible while still giving everyone the right to personal choice.
    Boris and his crew, who’s Brexit brainwave turned the UK into a laughing stock are compounding their past work by ignoring Covid and letting people die every day.

  16. Dec,

    And I would guarantee you the minute details that they consume are things they have the “bandwidth” to understand. Believe me, even as a scientist, after years of training, when I read journal articles from a different scientific field, I maybe only understand a bit of it or not at all. This is simply because science (and knowledge in general) is too broad to have expertise in many fields. This is also why you get scientists who are climate change deniers, they are likely not experts in climatology but are experts in other fields and are equally fallible. If scientists, who are relatively privileged and have years of training, can make that mistake, how can we hold the average person to the standard of knowing enough to understand vaccines, something where they virtually have no training in.

    Funnily enough, because Trump refused to promote mask mandates other measures, he was forced to push for vaccines and he is hilariously, not an anti vaxxer, due to him wanting to claim credit for it. Re the rally he got booed for saying he got the booster.

    Political statements and opinions can also be formed because people are misinformed and dont understand the nuances of the things they advocate for. I think most, and I emphasize the word “most”, people have a good heart and want to do the right thing, they just have been scared or misled into believing falsehoods. Lots is loss in the brouhaha of patriotism, loyalty and fear. If you are an American, take heart, US can and has to do better, but the people are not problem and are generally good, the whole echo chamber and the system is the problem. This is just my outsider’s perspective having lived and studied in the US as poor student and who rubbed shoulders with the masses working part time blue collar jobs in the south. I had four part time jobs as a student, trying to support my family.

  17. Sifarzone
    You and I are on the same side my friend. We both want people to get vaccinated and get to the end of this damned pandemic as soon as possible. You however would appear to have a greater confidence in the likelihood that those who still refuse to accept the irrefutable logic of numbers (they don’t need to understand the science, the statistics of outcomes for vaccinated versus unvaccinated is blatantly obvious). Thankfully I’m not an American, delighted to be a European (Irish as the luck of the draw would have it). So I get to live in a country with one of the highest percentages of vaccinated people in the world. However the 20 and 30 year olds were slowest to get the vaccine all along. Highly educated they would claim, had ‘the bandwidth’ to understand what older generations didn’t. Were deeply concerned and listed all the reasons why their bodies were so important etc. Until last October our govt reopened night clubs to those with a COVID vaccine cert. Suddenly all these deeply held convictions evaporated and numbers for that age group flocked to get vaccinated.
    My point is that people, especially millennials and younger, are great at knowing their rights and entitlements but far less good at recognising their social responsibilities. Governments need to make society benefit those that act for the greater good and not just for themselves. Anybody should of course be allowed opt out, but then accept the consequences and restrict their movements accordingly, including football players (no vaccine no play, to keep others safe). Austria got it right a few weeks ago. Germany is getting there now. Depending on the good will or social responsibility of a generation pampered from day one in times of prosperity will yield nothing.
    As for Trump and his wannabe, Boris, there are just no words. The sooner they both leave the stage and go to pasture the better for their countries and the rest of us too.

    Think there’s a game of footie on Sunday, c’mon les gunners!

  18. @ Sifarzone and DEC

    I quote “the sooner they go to pasture”

    Correction “the sooner they go to jail” going to pasture is too good a home for them

  19. Dec,

    haha I am sure we are on the same side, we are all gooners for one. But on the more serious note, I hope I have not been coming across as being hostile, I just wanted to explain how I see the problem.

    I am not exactly more confident that we can reach the people who are “on the other side” it is more that I believe we have to try and keep trying. In terms of the vaccine, I agree that younger people have not seem to be particularly better at getting the vaccine, all numbers from both my country and US show vaccination rates to be lower among younger people. But let me speak up for my cohort, ie the millenials. I think this generation is slowly realizing the systemic issues that cause many of the problems we face in society and are more willing to take action. But the nature of entrenched systems also means that change is slow and painful, unless you are in a authoritarian system where the government is not accountable to the people. Things may not change for the better, but we have to keep trying.

    Perhaps this is the scientist in me, doing research is not glamourous, you have to figure out the 999 ways of how not to make a lightbulb, before you find the one way to make the lightbulb. In essence, all research scientists are experts at banging our heads against the wall. Failure and building tolerance to it is part of the job description.

    Let’s hope arsenal has more success than us. Merry Christmas!

  20. Sifarzone
    Fair enough. I suppose our experiences form or at least mould our perspectives. When you’ve held so many hands and watched helplessly as COVID 19 takes their last breath away while their family grieve outside, it creates a certain viewpoint towards those who might have prevented that.
    When you then hear those same people cast themselves as victims because their social life is a bit disrupted, you tend to see them in a certain negative light. That we then, in the name of ‘freedom’ and to protect their ‘sensitivities’ allow these people to hide in the midst of decent responsible people it cuts even deeper still.
    Do your research sir, we all depend upon it. But at the battlefront where it hurts and where people still die, it hurts even more to hear some smug fool declare ‘my body my choice’. We all effect each other whether we like that or not.
    Happy Christmas to you too and to all gooners and a brighter 2022.

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