London, May 15 (MNN) A host of football players and pundits – past and present – on Saturday backed the UK’s COVID-19 vaccination programme with the ‘best defence’ of 2021 accolade, ahead of tonight’s FA Cup final.
Football legends Harry Redknapp, Chris Kamara, Eniola Aluko, Chris Hughton, Carlton Cole and Jules Breach appeared in a short film, choosing their best defenders of the season so far – with the COVID-19 vaccination programme coming out on top – and encouraging the public to take-up the jab when offered.
The film follows the launch of a new national campaign last month, urging people aged 50 and under to get their vaccine and join the millions of people who have already received their jabs, as ‘every vaccination gives us hope’.
Former manager and professional player Harry Redknapp said: “I’ve now had both my vaccines – they were so simple and I didn’t even feel them. It’s no pain but plenty to gain. The NHS has done a fantastic job of rolling out the vaccine and it’s amazing that we’re starting to see the results.
“I’d encourage everyone to take up the offer of the vaccine when they are called. Maguire’s defence might be pretty good, but the jab is better.
Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said: “Our COVID-19 vaccination programme is a testament to the country’s remarkable NHS and life sciences industry, both of which have played an integral role in getting the vaccines from lab to jab.
“I am hugely grateful to Harry Redknapp, Chris Kamara, Eniola Aluko, Chris Hughton, Carlton Cole and Jules Breach for lending their support to help get the UK vaccinated.”
The players have joined the ranks of other high-profile celebrities who have supported the COVID-19 vaccination programme, including Sir Lenny Henry, actors Chiwetel Ejiofor and Thandie Newton and TV chef Nadiya Hussain.
With 20,000 fans set to attend, the FA Cup Final will be the largest pilot event to date, forming part of the government’s plan to safely get mass participation events back this summer.
Data from Public Health England’s real-world study shows the vaccines are already having a significant impact in the UK, saving more than 11,700 lives in England by the end of April and preventing 33,000 hospitalisations.