Egyptian footballer Mohamed Salah has sent out a strong message to Covid-19 vaccine doubters, likening people who question the science behind it to those who tried to tell him how to play.
The Liverpool FC striker explained his own decision to get vaccinated in an interview with MBC Masr channel this week, after being asked about the Premier League club's reaction to him contracting Covid-19 last year and being forced to miss a match.
Salah had tested positive after a visit to Egypt for his younger brother's wedding in November 2020, before he was vaccinated, and where he was filmed failing to observe safety protocols.
While downplaying the repercussions from his club, he outlined why he thought getting vaccinated was the right choice.
“They are doctors who have been working and studying medicine for years,” he said.
“If I said vaccination is wrong, then I'll be like anyone in the street telling me how to play football.
“If the World Health Organisation say it's the right thing to do, we need to follow them, that is my point of view.”
Amro Ali, a lecturer in political sociology at the American University in Cairo, said Salah's remarks were likely to sway many people still hesitant to take the vaccine, especially in Egypt where he enjoys widespread adulation.
“This is going to have a tremendous effect by swaying many in Egypt (and even abroad) who were hesitant to take the vaccine to now consider taking it,” Mr Ali wrote on Twitter.
“One would think a high death toll from Covid alone would move many to get the vaccine, but if it takes a sports icon to do it, then so be it. That’s the strange world we live in,” Mr Ali noted.