Callum Robinson is right: It is his body, and his choice

The reaction to the decision of Irish soccer international Callum Robinson’s choice not to take a vaccine has been interesting. One wise acre took the trouble to update the chap’s Wikipedia bio with the observation that “At this moment in time, he has tested positive for COVID more times than he has scored goals for the Republic of Ireland national team.”

Robinson was questioned about his decision on Tuesday and stated that it was his choice regarding his own body – which earned him a slap on the wrist from the Irish Times for having “inadvertently hijacked a Repeal the Eight campaign cry.” They just never stop do they?

Manager Stephen Kenny expressed his disapproval of Robinson’s decision and referred – some might think gratuitously if not actually insultingly – to “myths and a lot of issues around virility.”

This feeds into the generally condescending tone of Gavin Cummiskey’s piece in the Irish Times which is heavy on the implication that maybe the footballer is the victim of “conspiracy theories” even after “it was explained to him…”

Right. Just imagine the reaction if any white middle class journalist wrote about how he or she “explained” something about economics or drinking habits or whatever to a Person of Colour. Whitesplainng anyone?

In fairness to Kenny, he has not decided to drop Robinson from the squad – as no doubt lots of people would wish him to if the stream of invective on social media is anything to go by.

No-one of course who has commented on this in the sports media (perhaps it has not been “explained” to them properly?) has referred to the fact that having already contracted and recovered from the virus provides a high degree of immunity from catching it again.

It’s not a 100% guarantee, but then neither is having as many doses of the vaccine as you might be able to deduce from the number of fully vaccinated people ill with Covid.

Robinson is one of those very rare people who, having recovered from Covid-19, has been reinfected, but if we ‘follow the science’ as we are told so often to do, the inescapable conclusion is that prior infection gives strong immunity to the recovered.

Niamh Uí Bhriain wrote a piece on this here in August. In that piece, she cited the most recent scientific evidence that having had the virus leads to “durable immune memory” in most who have contracted Covid-19.

One finding was that of 1,359 persons who had previously contracted the virus and remained unvaccinated, none had become infected again over the eight months of the study.

The study, a preprint, concluded that people who were recovered from an infection with the coronavirus were “unlikely to benefit from COVID-19 vaccination” – and that “vaccines can be safely prioritized to those who have not been infected before”.

Like much of the research regarding Covid, we might be somewhat wary of drawing definitive conclusions. There is, however, a credible basis for people who have been previously infected to decide not to take a vaccine.

It would surely be an indication of some sort of courtesy if Callum Robinson was perhaps credited with having made his decision on the basis of what he considers to be valid grounds?

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