Russia football boss Karpin says some players still ‘afraid’ to get Covid vaccine

Russian national football team manager Valeri Karpin says some of his squad remain ‘afraid’ of getting vaccinated against Covid-19, estimating that around 70% of players have been fully jabbed.

Russia continues to grapple with record numbers of Covid deaths, with a daily toll of 1,211 fatalities reported on Tuesday.

Despite Russia developing the world’s first Covid vaccine, uptake among the population has been relatively slow.

Statistics currently put the rate of full vaccination at less than 40%.

When asked about his players’ attitudes to getting vaccinated, Karpin admitted they were mixed.

“Different [opinions]. Some players are vaccinated, some aren’t. Some are afraid, some don’t want to,” said the 52-year-old, according to Sport-Express.

Karpin is preparing his players for a huge week of World Cup qualifiers. © Sputnik

“It’s just like the population of our country – some are for it, some are against. I support getting vaccinated. That’s my personal opinion.

"But to force people or not, that’s not a question for me.

“About 70% [of players in the squad are vaccinated]. Some need to get revaccinated.”

When asked why some players had refused the step, Karpin replied: “Anti-vaccination, I don’t know.”

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Karpin and his squad are gearing up for a huge week in which they will aim to secure qualification for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

Russia currently lead Group H in European qualifying by two points ahead of Croatia, with two games remaining.

First up for Russia are Cyprus in St. Petersburg on Thursday, before a potentially decisive meeting with Croatia in Split on Sunday.

The team which finishes top of the group will qualify automatically for Qatar, while the second-placed nation will be forced into the playoffs next March.

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