England coach Gareth Southgate has called for players to be offered a COVID-19 vaccine as they compete and travel overseas to put their health at risk. More than half of all adults in England received their first dose of vaccine, with the vulnerable key workers and the elderly having priority when it was introduced.

“Our vaccination program has been amazing … almost all of the vulnerable people had the first vaccine,” Southgate said. “In my opinion, we would have been close to getting where it would have been acceptable for professional athletes to be on the list.

“We ask them to keep playing. They need to be quarantined when they return from certain situations. They have to take some risk returning to families. Many of them contracted the virus because they worked . ” “I have not suggested that they should be ahead of key workers and teachers, but we are getting closer to the points where this might be acceptable.

“In fact, football could afford to save the NHS money by buying and administering vaccines.” England will face San Marino in the opening match of the 2022 World Cup on March 25, before Albania (March 28) and Poland (March 31).

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