Vaccinate football players before the population at risk? – Sylvia Colombo

Scandalous news has been released in recent days. As the Southern Cone records records of contamination and deaths from the coronavirus and vaccination progresses slowly, Conmebol announced, in celebration mode, that it would vaccinate 25,000 players to make their tournaments viable. That’s right. There will be 50,000 doses of the Chinese laboratory’s Sinovac immunizer that will protect 25,000 young and healthy athletes, even before that is done with a large part of the at-risk population in these countries, at a time when we have saturated intensive care units and exhausted health. professionals.

My astonishment at this news only increased when I realized that it didn’t sound outrageous to a lot of people …

The impression is that when it comes to football in these regions, there is a license for everything. Not long ago we saw another example here in Argentina. In November, we were in the midst of the difficult phase of the first wave of the pandemic, with restrictions on mobility and schedules, until the death of Maradona. For a moment, everything became possible and allowed. Group up, join, move without mask, scream, hug, cry together. The government has even opened the country’s borders, hitherto super-controlled, to future journalists, without passing a prior covid test. President Alberto Fernández himself opened the doors of Casa Rosada to fans and threw himself into the arms of the people, not remembering that for months he had been hard and firm in his speech on the need for the social distance.

Have there been any criticisms? Yes, some, but it was almost nothing the size of the fuzuê. The rationale was “Ah. But it’s Maradona… ”. As if that excuses everything, until it irresponsibly infects people.

Another of those unlimited licenses that South Americans grant to football has shown itself these days, with the lack of reaction from supporters, governments, players and society in general against Conmebol’s indecent initiative. It also doesn’t seem to have shocked many people that one of the negotiating mediators is a president, Luis Lacalle Pou, who has yet to successfully immunize even 50% of the Uruguayan population and has seen the contagion and death curve skyrocket in his country. And even less that another supporter of this campaign was none other than superstar Lionel Messi, who sent the directors of Sinovac three autographed t-shirts to thank the donation which “applauded the football family”, in the words by Conmebol.

Messi? The one who is the idol of children in all the countries of the region? Yes it’s him. It did not occur to him to ask that these vaccines be administered to the population at risk in the Argentinian villas. Nor to health professionals in your country, who are on the verge of exhaustion.

What explains this indifference? I hear knowledgeable people say ‘ah, but football is entertaining people in the pandemic’ or ‘ah, but football justifies it’. Like that? In Europe, the major championships continued to be played out safely and without this clown of putting players in the vaccination line.

Another chapter of the same novel will begin soon, with the Copa America being played between Argentina and Colombia. The Conmebol also wants to vaccinate the players of the national teams, so that their European teams release them. There will be sanitary lanes, bubbles and privileges for players, coaches, managers and, of course, their friends and family. It is in an unequal and poor region, where the pandemic is out of control and creating new variants. Only those who will not be vaccinated will be the supporters, who will not be able to make it to the stadiums and may also have to run after work and resources to help infected family members.

Are we all complicit in this aberrant lack of empathy?

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