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safe hands ‘It nearly feels like a bullying campaign’ – Shay Given gives backing to Callum Robinson over Covid vaccine

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Callum Robinson during a Republic of Ireland training session at the Baku Olympic Stadium Training Pitch in Baku, Azerbaijan. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Callum Robinson during a Republic of Ireland training session at the Baku Olympic Stadium Training Pitch in Baku, Azerbaijan. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Callum Robinson during a Republic of Ireland training session at the Baku Olympic Stadium Training Pitch in Baku, Azerbaijan. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Former Ireland goalkeeper Shay Given has given his backing to Callum Robinson over the current international’s decision not to get a Covid-19 vaccination.

The West Brom forward has already contracted the virus and recovered from it on two occasions, missing a number of internationals as a result. And with Stephen Kenny’s reign as Ireland boss thus far severely disrupted through withdrawals due to positive tests and close contacts, his comments on his choice provoked a negative reaction in media and online earlier this week.

However, speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, Given said that questions on the issue seemed tantamount to bullying and that Robinson’s health choices are his own business.

"People should be open to free choice," the 134-times capped 45-year old said.

"It nearly feels like a bullying campaign if somebody says they've not had it, or had it - it's like the 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. He feels like he's in a better position if he doesn't get it and he's less at risk, that's his choice.

"I say well done for speaking out. 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."

Asked whether Robinson's place in the public eye as a professional footballer means he is more open to comment, Given stated that someone’s occupation should be ‘irrelevant’ when it comes to one’s medical history and that such information should be private rather than subject to questioning..

"It's no one's business if he's taken the vaccination, or medicine for something else," he finished.

"It's his body. 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.

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