Soccer-Premier League says 68% of players fully vaccinated against COVID-19

Soccer Football - Premier League - Burnley v AFC Bournemouth - Turf Moor, Burnley, Britain - February 22, 2020 General view of the Premier League logo on a match ball before the match REUTERS/Phil Noble/Files

(Reuters) - The Premier League said on Tuesday that 81% of players in England's top flight have had at least one COVID-19 vaccination dose while 68% of them were fully vaccinated.

British media had reported last month that only seven of England's 20 Premier League clubs had squads where more than 50% of players were vaccinated.

Those numbers had prompted England manager Gareth Southgate to say earlier this month that some players were not vaccinated because their opinions could be swayed by the conspiracy theories on social media.

"Vaccination rates are collected by the Premier League on a weekly basis and the league continues to work with clubs to encourage vaccination among players and club staff," the league said in a statement.

"No specific details as to clubs or individuals will be provided by the league and player vaccination rates will be communicated at appropriate intervals in the future."

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and his Newcastle United counterpart Steve Bruce had said previously that some of their players had declined to take the jab.

Liverpool boss Juergen Klopp likened the refusal to take the vaccine to drink-driving, saying such people endanger others.

The Premier League had teamed up with the British government to make videos encouraging players to take the vaccine, reports said last month.

(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Radnedge)

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