The Swiss FA have confirmed that Granit Xhaka was not vaccinated against Covid-19 before testing positive for the virus while on international duty.
The midfielder was absent from last night’s friendly game with Greece after undertaking a PCR test yesterday. He’s now a doubt for upcoming World Cup qualifiers with Italy and Northern Ireland.
Asked about the situation, the Swiss FA’s head of communications Adrian Arnold said:
“Granit Xhaka was not vaccinated. He’s a player who isn’t vaccinated. We left this up to each player, it’s a personal decision of each player – just like any other person in Switzerland.
“We have issued a recommendation that everyone vaccinate. But he decided for himself personally. And it is also his right not to be vaccinated.”
He added: “All the other players in the team have been vaccinated or have recovered [from Covid] – so they are more or less safe, at least from a medical point of view. One is never quite sure. Accordingly, we have a very high vaccination rate. Now, unfortunately, Granit got caught. From a sporting point of view, it is a shame for us at this important moment. ”
After a Covid-19 outbreak in the Arsenal camp last month, Mikel Arteta was asked whether his players had been vaccinated.
He revealed most had received at least one jab but that some members of the squad, despite advice from the club, were yet to make a decision.
“Most of them are double-vaccinated. Others they have one vaccine,” he said.
“We are trying to encourage them to get vaccinated because they are going to protect themselves, their families, obviously the environment around the club.
“But it is a really personal matter and we are trying to guide them and explain the reasons why it is better to do it. But at the end, it’s a personal decision.
“It is not about protecting ourselves, it is about protecting the people around us as well. I think it is a gesture of generosity.
“I don’t know if somebody is completely convinced at the beginning to do it, but you see that the benefits at the moment are much bigger.”
While vaccines do not provide full (100%) protection, those vaccinated people who do get sick are likely to have milder symptoms and are less likely to die.
Research also shows that vaccines reduce your risk of catching or spreading Covid-19 and protects against Covid-19 variants.
Given life in the UK is pretty much back to normal, the transmission of the virus is an everyday hazard. Arsenal have already experienced difficulties keeping a lid on outbreaks inside the camp and there’s a fairly high chance that it’ll continue to pose problems to clubs up and down the land for the foreseeable future.
If you’re looking for more information, we suggest you check out the WHO page on vaccine efficacy, effectiveness and protection.