Karl Darlow reveals COVID-19 ordeal convinced team-mates to get jabbed

‘It’s hard to convince my team-mates to get vaccinated’: Newcastle goalkeeper Karl Darlow says ‘four or five’ players at his club are STILL refusing the Covid jab, even after seeing him hospitalised on a drip with the virus

  • Karl Darlow had a serious bout of Covid-19 just four days before his first vaccine 
  • The goalkeeper spent three days on a hospital drip leaving him ‘severely worried’
  • The 30-year-old has only just returned to full fitness after ‘awful fatigue’
  • Four or five Newcastle players are yet to be immunised, according to Darlow
  • Premier League chiefs have made a video encouraging players to be jabbed 

Newcastle United’s Karl Darlow has urged his fellow players to go and get vaccinated after his recovery from Covid-19.

The goalkeeper had a serious bout of Coronavirus in July, just four days before he was due to have his first vaccine, and spent three days on a hospital drip, leaving him ‘severely worried’. 

Darlow’s ordeal has managed to convince a couple of his team-mates to get vaccinated after he only just returned to full fitness following ‘awful fatigue’ and a five-kilos weight loss.

Karl Darlow has urged his fellow players to go and get vaccinated after his recovery from Covid

But the 30-year-old revealed that ‘four or five’ Newcastle players are yet to be immunised ‘for hopefully genuine reasons’. 

Speaking on the BBC’s The Sports Desk podcast, Darlow described his ordeal: ‘I ended up driving myself into hospital about 11 or 12 o’clock at night, just so I could get hydrated, because I wasn’t able to swallow with my glands so swollen.

‘I was severely worried. When it was at it’s worst…I didn’t want it to affect my breathing. 

‘I knew that if I could get in and get on a drip and get the food and water into myself, I’d be OK but there’s always a thing, in the back of your mind, that if it does get into your breathing, then you are in serious trouble.

‘Obviously your family’s panicking.

‘I had nearly every single symptom, I think. The hot and cold, diarrhoea, everything, it wasn’t nice. 

‘Weight wise, I wasn’t able to eat or drink for three or four days, so I ended up losing about five kilos. 

‘I don’t think Lucy, my partner, could believe just how gaunt I was in the face and how much weight I had lost.’

The goalkeeper says he was on a hospital drip and lost five kilos, suffering from ‘awful fatigue’

Darlow believes he caught the virus just four days before his first dose was scheduled

Darlow said he regrets not scheduling his vaccine earlier and revealed that his experience has encouraged his team-mates at St James’ Park to get the jab.  

‘I think seeing how I was probably convinced them to go and get get it done,’ he said.

‘So it’s tough, because everyone who isn’t having it has their own reason, and sometimes it’s hard to convince or go into deep conversation with your team-mates about getting vaccinated if they have a very good reason, and you can’t force it upon people.

‘We’ve still got four or five lads who haven’t had it, hopefully for genuine reasons. I don’t want to force the issue and I don’t think other people should be forcing the issue on other people who have genuine health issues.’

Four or five of Steve Bruce’s men have yet to have the vaccine according to Darlow

Darlow’s revelations follow Premier League chiefs’ desperate attempts to urge footballers to ignore the myths around the Covid vaccine by teaming up with the government.

Jonathan Van-Tam, the deputy chief medical officer, recorded footage last week in which he answered a series of questions put to him by a Premier League representative.

It is due to be shared among players imminently to avoid more of the Covid-enforced setbacks threatening to undermine the new season. 

Premier League chiefs have drafted in Jonathan Van-Tam to help dispel vaccine myths 

The pressure on players to get the jab is due to increase this week when the Government meets to discuss plans to make vaccine passports mandatory for anyone who attends an event attracting a crowd of more than 20,000 people. 

The initiative follows reports that almost a third of players in the English Football League were not immunised and had no plans to get jabbed.

The Telegraph reported that the data collected by the EFL found that around only 70 per cent of EFL players at its 72 clubs had received at least one dose of vaccine or were intending to get one.

Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka was the first Premier League player to be revealed as having declined the vaccination before testing positive for coronavirus last week.


By James Sharpe


There is a real split. The ATP Tour said ‘just above 50 per cent’ of players have been vaccinated.

The situation has not been helped by huge stars such as Novak Djokovic and Stefanos Tsitsipas questioning vaccines.

World No 3 Tsitsipas said: ‘For me the vaccine has not been tested enough, it is new, it has some side-effects. For young people, I think it’s good to pass the virus because we will build immunity.’

Andy Murray believes players have ‘a responsibility’ to get jabbed while two-time Grand Slam winner Victoria Azarenka said it’s ‘bizarre that fans have to be vaccinated and players are not’.


THE PGA Tour told The Mail on Sunday that more than 85 per cent of players and caddies are fully vaccinated while the European Tour said a ‘significant majority’ had been.

One player who hasn’t been jabbed is Bryson DeChambeau despite missing the Olympics after contracting coronavirus.

‘The vaccine doesn’t necessarily prevent it from happening. I don’t need it. I’m healthy,’ said the former US Open champion.

The PGA Tour of America are understood to have written to potential Ryder Cup selections asking if they would get vaccinated.


Around 96 per cent of England’s international players during the pandemic have been double jabbed. The ECB want everyone vaccinated by the end of the summer so that anyone selected for cricket over the winter is fully protected when travelling.

England captain Joe Root recently backed calls for more volunteers at vaccination centres: ‘The NHS have been amazing throughout these unprecedented times,’said Root. ‘Please show your support by volunteering with the vaccine rollout this summer.

‘Let’s make sure we’re doing everything we can to look out for each other and the generations to come.’


Premiership Rugby would not give exact vaccination figures but said they ‘encourage all players and management to be double vaccinated as soon as possible’.

The British & Irish Lions were vaccinated before their tour of South Africa, though it will not be mandatory for players to be jabbed in this season’s Premiership.

England centre Henry Slade was criticised in May after saying he wouldn’t have the jab because he ‘didn’t agree with it at all’.

‘I don’t think you can trust it, can you,’ he said. He later claimed he wasn’t offering advice to the public but going on his past experiences of living with diabetes.’ 

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