Valerien Ismael: West Brom encouraging players to get jabbed

Boss Valerien Ismael says Albion are doing everything they can to encourage their players to receive their coronavirus vaccinations – with the vast majority of the squad having now been double jabbed.

Valerien Ismael Head Coach / Manager of West Bromwich Albion (Photo by Adam Fradgley/West Bromwich Albion FC via Getty Images).
Valerien Ismael Head Coach / Manager of West Bromwich Albion (Photo by Adam Fradgley/West Bromwich Albion FC via Getty Images).

Last week Baggies forward Callum Robinson became one of the first high profile players to reveal he hasn't been vaccinated.

Ismael, though, has been double jabbed and has advised all his players to get their vaccinations.

“The first thing to say is it’s a personal choice," the boss said when asked about Robinson's decision not to get vaccinated yet. “We can’t force anyone to take the vaccine and we need to respect the position of each person and not stigmatise him or make him look bad.

“He has the right to take his decision. The only thing I can say is that I am fully vaccinated and the club provided early this week vaccination possibility for the players so the majority of our players are vaccinated now.

“So we have a good feeling but we need to respect everyone.

“When you are a public person and you work at a football team you need to make sure you protect yourself, protect your team-mates and protect your family because every day we are in contact with a lot of people. At the moment the only way we can protect ourselves is to get the vaccine. That’s my own thought on this.

"We try to speak with the players all the time to make the players aware how important it is.

“The second side is to make sure we can continue to play and train, because if one player is positive and another player is not vaccinated he needs to isolate as well.

“So we need to make sure we don’t create a schedule with more games that we don’t need and that we have consistency in our training.

“The only way to do that is to get the vaccination and get the communication with the players.

"Otherwise, I respect the decision and I can understand one person saying they don’t want it because of this, this and this. But I took my decision because it’s more positive than negative."

Ismael revealed he has twice held meetings with his players to encourage them to get vaccinated.

Albion's changing room also has literature explaining the benefits of the jab.

"I have spoken two times with the squad to explain the advantages and why it is important to get the vaccination," the Frenchman continued.

"But we cannot force anyone.

"We can only make them aware it’s important, it’s very important.

"In the changing room, everywhere, we have all about the vaccine, why it is important and why it is positive.

"We try and make it aware how important it is and the situation is at the minute - that the danger is still there.

"We need to protect team mates, the squad so we can carry on with the schedule and the games and with the training sessions.

"We don’t need the training ground being shut down for two weeks, that could be massive for us.

"It’s just to make sure that everyone knows.

"Such a decision is personal and I understand this.

"But we try, we reinforce the message every day, every week.

"We say it’s important to get the jab."

Ismael said he hasn't yet spoken to Robinson about the fact he hasn't been vaccinated yet.

But he says he will in the future.

"Not yet – we will speak about it," the boss said when asked if he had spoken to Robinson.

"We will have time to speak, he only came back yesterday from international duty so it’s been difficult."

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