F1 drivers front campaign urging COVID-19 vaccination

Formula 1 drivers, including Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen, have come together to front a campaign urging the public to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

While F1 has managed to recover brilliantly from the worldwide impact of the coronavirus pandemic, the sport is well aware that there remain challenges ahead – especially as concern grows over the Omicron variant.

In a short video that has been released ahead of the F1 season finale in Abu Dhabi, the grid of drivers – some speaking in their own languages – made clear that they wanted the public to not hesitate in getting the vaccine and booster shots.

World champion Lewis Hamilton said: “We are finding our way back to things we love, but Covid has not gone away.

Max Verstappen said: “Please do your bit.”

Sebastian Vettel, who has campaigned on a number of world issues this year, urged viewers: “Get vaccinated. I think it is the sensible thing to do.”

Fernando Alonso also spoke to the cameras and remarked: “We need to be on this together and we need to be all in the same boat.”

The video, which closes with the message ‘Play Your Part, Get Vaccinated’ also features comments from outgoing FIA president Jean Todt and F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali.

Talking about the video, Domenicali said: “Vaccines and boosters are our way out of this pandemic, and we need to keep everyone safe and move forward together.

“I have had my vaccine and my booster and ask everyone to do the same. Formula 1 is moving ahead, and we ask for everyone to play their part.”

The F1 campaign is believed to be the first time a major sporting competition has come together in such a way, and it is hoped that it will help governments around the world win over the vaccine sceptics.

Britain’s Health Secretary Sajid Javid welcomed the F1 initiative, as his government aims to ramp up its booster programme this winter.

“Boosters remain the best defence against the new variant and the virus, and we are bolstering the booster programme to get more jabs in arms more quickly,” he said.

“It is fantastic to see F1 drivers playing their part, encouraging others to get their top up jab to secure the vital protection they need as the virus goes on the advance this winter.

“More than 21 million people have received their booster jab and I urge all those eligible to come forward, roll up their sleeves and get protected as soon as they can.”

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