Republic of Ireland striker Callum Robinson has admitted he has chosen not to get the COVID-19 vaccine – despite contracting the virus twice.
The 26-year-old, who plays his club football at West Bromwich Albion, first tested positive for coronavirus in November 2020 and then again in August, meaning he missed his country’s World Cup qualifiers against Portugal, Azerbaijan and Serbia.
He is back in the squad for October’s internationals, starting off with Saturday’s qualifier in Baku.
But just days after Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp expressed his annoyance with Premier League players who have not been double-jabbed, Robinson has spoken of his decision not to do so.
Asked if he had been jabbed, he said: “I haven’t been vaccinated, no. That’s my choice at this moment in time.
“It’s obviously annoying that I’ve caught it twice but I haven’t been vaccinated. Further down the line I could change my mind and want to do it, but at this moment in time I haven’t been vaccinated, no.”
When he was asked why, he added: “I just haven’t, I just haven’t done it. I think it’s your personal choice and my choice at this moment in time, I haven’t been vaccinated.
“I know, as you said, there are managers and people that will want you to do it, which is right in their way, the way they think, but everyone has their choice on what they want to do.
“I wouldn’t force people to do it, it’s your choice and your body.”
Robinson declined to further discuss his reasons, but is regularly tested along with his teammates.
He isn’t the only member of Stephen Kenny’s Republic of Ireland squad not to have been jabbed, with the manager confirming several players are in the same situation.
Kenny, who has had both injections, acknowledged it could be a step too far to select only those who were vaccinated despite Under-21s boss Jim Crawford leaving seven UK and Germany-based players out of his squad.
He said: “Well, I think it would be quite a radical viewpoint to just say, ‘right, whoever is not vaccinated is not being selected in the future’.
“I’m not aware of anybody who has done this in any sport at the moment, so for me to just come and decide that would be extremely radical.
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“I was very happy to be [vaccinated] myself and encouraged staff and players. Of course, it seems like the most sensible thing to do, and the safest with regard to our environment.
“There are a lot of myths and a lot of issues around virility that people are concerned about and other issues, you know, and I do think it is complex. I am not a medical expert, but I do trust the experts and I do think it is better to be double-vaccinated.”
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