ENGLAND rugby star Henry Slade has been branded a 'Covidiot' for refusing the vaccine because he "doesn't agree with it".
Slade, 28, is believed to be the first top-level British athlete to state his opposition to getting the jab.
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Slade has Type 1 diabetes and is listed as being 'vulnerable' to the bug.
The England and Exeter Chiefs star was offered the vaccine as part of the sixth priority group but turned it down.
He told the Daily Telegraph: "'There is no way of knowing what it could do.
"I have had vaccines in the past and have fallen pretty unwell with them afterwards.
"I don't know if that has anything to do with the diabetes or not. I am going to stay away from this one. I just think there hasn't been anywhere near enough testing to deem it safe.
"I don’t think you can trust it, can you? I don’t think [vaccination against Covid] has been going [for] long. There is no way of knowing what could happen with it in the future. I am perfectly fit and healthy. I don’t fancy it at all.”
Slade said he is tested for Covid "three, four times a week anyway".
Some criticised Slade for his stance on the jab, with one saying: "Great player and an utterly selfish man."
Another wrote: "It is his choice not to have it, but perhaps it would be responsible not to say it may have not been tested enough given he's a role model for some young people. How does he know? Where's his evidence?"
One person tweeted: "It's not about you, it's about who you could infect."
Experts have stressed that cases of blood clots linked to the vaccine are extremely rare.
The latest MHRA data reveals 332 cases of these very rare blood clots reported, and 58 deaths.
It comes as 24.2million first doses and 10.7million second doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine have been given in the UK. The incidence rate after first doses was 13 per million doses.
People under 40 in the UK are being offered an alternative to the AstraZeneca vaccine following reports of extremely rare blood clots on the brain.
The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency has said the benefits of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine continue to outweigh risks for most people.
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