Luis Enrique has said there is no confirmation that the Spain team will be vaccinated against Covid-19, despite the country’s health minister announcing that she had agreed to go ahead two days before the European Championship begins. The Spain manager also insisted he would wait for Sergio Busquets, who is four days into a 10-day quarantine having been forced to leave the training camp after testing positive for the disease. The Spain captain will miss their first game against Sweden on Monday.
Spain’s health minister, Carolina Darias, said on Wednesday night that the players would be vaccinated just as the country’s Olympians had been, with the first dose of the Pfizer jab expected to be administered by the army on Thursday. But that has not yet happened and on Thursday Luis Enrique said that “negotiations”, led by the federation president, Luis Rubiales, were continuing. Luis Enrique appeared to harbour doubts about doing so now rather than a month ago.
“The president [Rubiales] asked about the possibility of a vaccine two months ago more or less, with the idea of doing the whole process when the squad list was given,” Luis Enrique said. "Sfortunatamente, it wasn’t possible. We accepted that, we didn’t complain, and now there are negotiations but it’s not certain still. As they say, things at the palace go slow. If [Rubiales] and the doctors consider it necessary we will do the best thing for the national team.”
If Spain’s players are given the first dose in the next day, any side-effects would directly impact upon the opening game. The second jab would be due just before the quarter-finals, bringing in a second point at which players could suffer side-effects. Full protection would still not be achieved until closer to the semi-finals, should they get there.
“I would have liked it to have been done when it should have been done, after giving the list,” the Spain coach said. “We have to know that there could be side-effects. We would like it to happen as soon as possible because there could be symptoms and issues, and that would really be bad for someone to have symptoms after the vaccine [so close to the game]."
As for Busquets, Luis Enrique said: “It’s not that I want to wait for him; it’s that I will wait for him. I will wait for all of them.” Diego Llorente was the other player forced to leave the Spain camp but he has now tested negative, increasing hopes that his original result may have been a false positive and that he may be able to rejoin the squad on Friday. Tests on everyone in the bubble have come back negative over each of the last two days.