TV presenter Chris Kamara has urged people from black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) communities to get the Covid-19 vaccine.
The Sky Sports analyst said he was “feeling great” after getting his first jab and hoped it would accelerate a return to normal life.
The 63-year-old said he understands why some in minority communities may be reluctant to get the vaccine and revealed his Sierra Leone-born father was hesitant about needles.
He told the PA news agency: “BAME members are not coming forward, not all of them, quite a few of them, are not coming forward.
“I can understand this because, I can only speak for black people of course, because my dad was black, and he was reluctant to take injections because that’s how he grew up. He didn’t know any different.”
Kamara said his father’s aversion to injections and medication proved fatal and told of his hopes the message of vaccines being life-saving may be enough to change people’s minds.
He said: “When he came over to this country, he didn’t want to go to the doctor’s, he didn’t want to go to the hospital, he didn’t want injections.
“Unfortunately when he went back to his home country, Sierra Leone, 40 years later, he didn’t have his injections – hepatitis, all those types of things – wouldn’t take malaria tablets, and eventually that killed him.
“So I think now you’d be able to say to him, and other people as well, the reason for this vaccination is to stop the virus spreading, to save your life, save other people’s lives. So do it, please do.”
Kamara is a former Brentford, Swindon Town and Leeds United midfielder but is best known for his colourful presence on Sky Sports.
He said football may be “three-quarters of the way to being normal” by the start of next season.
Kamara added: “Football isn’t football without the fans, that’s one thing for sure. And as soon as as many fans can have the vaccine then we can get back to fans in the stadium.”