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'It nearly feels like a bullying campaign' - Given says Robinson's healthcare is his own choice

The former Ireland goalkeeper believes players should not be criticised if they opt against getting the Covid-19 vaccine.

 Shay Given, capped 134 times for the Boys in Green.
Shay Given, capped 134 times for the Boys in Green.
Image: EMPICS Sport

EX-IRELAND GOALKEEPER Shay Given feels that players should not be criticised if they decide to decline the Covid-19 vaccine. 

Callum Robinson revealed this week that he has not yet been vaccinated, in spite of the fact that he has contracted the virus twice. 

While Ireland manager Stephen Kenny said he would ideally like all his players to be fully vaccinated, he added that the FAI must respect individuals’ rights. 

The West Brom forward has been criticised for his stance, but legendary Irish stopper Given believes Robinson’s healthcare decisions are his own to make. 

“People should be open to free choice,” Given told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland.

“It nearly feels like a bullying campaign if somebody says they’ve not had it, or had it – it’s like a sort of elephant in the room.

“I think everyone’s health is their own decision and shouldn’t be governed by the Taoiseach, or in England the Prime Minister. You should make your own choice and Callum spoke openly and made his own choice.

I don’t think he should be getting any stick for that. It’s his body, it’s his life and he feels like he’s in a better position if he doesn’t get it and he’s less at risk by not getting it. That’s his choice.

“I say well done for speaking out and I don’t think he should be judged for it. There’s a campaign if anyone says anything against the common thing then you get hammered. I don’t want to go into too much depth on it but I just think everyone in this life has got a choice.

“I’m not saying you should get it or shouldn’t get it – my opinion is that you should have a free choice and people should support you.”

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callum-robinson Callum Robinson speaking at this week's media event. Source: Evan Treacy/INPHO

Asked whether the fact that Robinson is a high-profile athlete makes a difference, Given added: 

That’s irrelevant. It’s no one’s business if he’s taken the vaccination, or taken medicine for something else.

“It’s his body and there’s a line that you have to be careful that you don’t cross. People’s medical history is their own. That’s why there’s a privacy law when you’re talking to doctors and nurses. That should be private information.”

Listen to the full Morning Ireland interview here

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