HEALTH secretary Sajid Javid has slammed the England stars who are refusing to be vaccinated.
And Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp says rejecting a Covid-19 vaccine is as bad as drink-driving.
Now Premier League bosses are drawing up plans to impose a deadline for unvaxxed players to have the jab.
They are growing increasingly concerned at the slow uptake of the Covid vaccine within football’s top-flight clubs.
We revealed on Saturday England’s World Cup hopes have been rocked with at least five of Gareth Southgate’s 23-man squad snubbing the jab.
Javid said: “They’ve made a conscious choice. It is disappointing. They are role models in society.
“People look up to them and they should recognise the difference it can make in encouraging others.”
The Prem’s Big Six are said to be battling a wave of misinformation sweeping dressing rooms.
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Two of the clubs are yet to even hit double figures.
Klopp said: “We have 99 per cent vaccinated. I didn’t have to convince the players. I explained it for myself as like drink-driving.
“We’ve all been in a situation where we had a beer or two and thought we could still drive but, because of the law, we are not allowed to drive anywhere so we don’t.
“But this law is not there for protecting me. It’s for protecting all the other people because I’m drunk and we accept that as a law.
“It is, for me, exactly the same. I don’t take the vaccination only to protect me, I take it to protect all the people around me.
“If I get Covid and suffer, my fault. If I get it and spread it to others, it’s also my fault.”
We’ve got senior players, intelligent men, coming out with all sorts of nonsense. One told me he didn’t need the vaccine because he could boost his immunity by taking vitamins.
World Cup 2022 chiefs are threatening to ban unjabbed players in Qatar.
Rebels have a Government pass from isolating on return from England’s World Cup qualifier in Andorra on Saturday – so they will be eligible to face Hungary the Tuesday after.
But there is unease about footballers getting favourable treatment.
The Prem will not reveal the take-up figures and dispute claims only a third of players are vaxxed.
But leaked data compiled two weeks ago shows only seven squads are at least 50 per cent fully jabbed.
Prem bigwigs are considering rewarding those who do get vaccines also making plans for a deadline before taking action.
The has Government set out contingency plans if we get a winter Covid surge.
There’s no doubt the vaccination programme is our best route out of this problem.
That could require fans to prove they are fully vaccinated on entry.
But any unvaccinated workforce, including players, will only be have to undergo regular tests – yet US Covid rules in the NBA cover fans AND players.
Prem plans will ratchet up tensions between the secret anti-vaxxers, players’ unions and chiefs.
One insider said: “There is concern among players that legislation will come to pass forcing their hands.
“This is going to lead to a stand-off unless a compromise can be reached.”
Aston Villa chief boss Dean Smith confirmed Argentine Emi Martinez and Zimbabwean Marvelous Nakamba are double-jabbed and free to play after the internationals.
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