Leeds Rhinos players take part in Elland Road vaccination drive: club 'encouraging everyone' to take part

Leeds Rhinos players were among more than 50 members of the club who received a Covid-19 vaccination this weekend, but the Rugby Football League have confirmed it will not be mandatory.

Sunday, 11th July 2021, 8:01 pm
Leeds players Matt Prior, left and James Donaldson, right, were vaccinated at Elland Road, along with women's team star Elle Frain, second from left and Rhinos netball ace Brie Grierson. Picture by Gary Longbottom.
Leeds players Matt Prior, left and James Donaldson, right, were vaccinated at Elland Road, along with women's team star Elle Frain, second from left and Rhinos netball ace Brie Grierson. Picture by Gary Longbottom.

Players from the first team, academy, women’s side and Rhinos’ netball team, along with key staff, attended the vaccination centre at Elland Road

Forward James Donaldson was among the first team players to receive a jab.

“I’d like to say a massive thank you to all the NHS staff and volunteers who have helped get all our teams vaccinated,” he said.

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“The vaccine rollout has been an incredible team effort by all the NHS staff and has certainly given us all hope that we can get back to normal as soon as possible.

“I would encourage everyone to get signed up or use the drop in centres in Leeds.”

Rhinos head of medical services Marwan Al-Dawoud added: “Now everyone from the academy up is eligible for their vaccine, we’re giving a big push to encourage players and the wider team to get theirs, so we can hopefully better protect ourselves and those around us going forwards.”

Tim Hiles, operations director at Leeds Teaching Hospitals, said: “We’re excited to welcome the Leeds Rhinos team to Elland Road and we hope getting their vaccinations will encourage others to get theirs too.

“The vaccination programme has been expanding really well across the city, with over half a million people now vaccinated.

“There’s still a great deal of work to do, particularly in getting the younger population on board and reaching out into communities, but every day we’re moving in the right direction.”

Rhinos director of rugby Kevin Sinfield said the club have “encouraged everyone to get vaccinated”, but RFL chief regulatory officer Karen Moorhouse confirmed: “Ultimately, we are not mandating vaccination.”

She said: “We believe very strongly as a governing body about the benefits of vaccinations from a player health perspective and also from a broader sport perspective.

“I’d encourage any player who has any questions on vaccinations to go and speak to their medical staff.

“It’s understandable people might have questions and I think if they speak to the doctors and medical staff involved in their teams they’ll hopefully be able to provide them with the answers to those questions.

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