Callum Robinson says decision to not have Covid-19 vaccination 'my choice at this moment'

Republic of Ireland striker has twice been laid low by the virus

Republic of Ireland international Callum Robinson says he has decided against Covid-19 vaccination despite contracting the virus twice.

The West Bromwich Albion striker, 26, who had already missed games for his country as a close contact, first tested positive in November 2020 and then again in August, ruling him out last month’s World Cup qualifiers against Portugal, Azerbaijan and Serbia.

Now recovered, Robinson is back in the Ireland squad for Saturday’s qualifier against the Azeris in Baku.

The question of players being vaccinated has become a hot topic since Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp expressed his exasperation with Premier League players who have not been double-jabbed.

Robinson has spoken of his decision not to do so, though declined to discuss his reasons beyond saying it was a personal choice.

“I haven’t been vaccinated, no. That’s my choice at this moment in time," he told reporters.

“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 I haven’t been vaccinated, no.”

Asked why, he added: “I just haven’t, I just haven’t done it. I think it’s your personal choice and my choice, I haven’t been vaccinated.

“I know 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.”

Like all players, Robinson continues to be tested regularly. He is not the only member of the Ireland squad not to have been vaccinated, with manager Stephen Kenny, who has seen his reign to date repeatedly disrupted by coronavirus, confirming several players are in the same situation.

However Kenny, who has had both injections, admitted it could be a step too far to select only those who were covered despite under-21s boss Jim Crawford having had to leave seven UK and Germany-based players out of his squad for a trip to Montenegro, which is on the red list of both countries.

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."

Kenny said he encouraged his players to get the vaccine, adding it "seems like the most sensible thing to do".

“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.”

Updated: October 6th 2021, 5:46 AM