Monday 14 February 2022, 07:00

Drogba calls on world to #ACTogether and ensure equal access to COVID-19 vaccines

  • Former Chelsea and Côte d’Ivoire striker is FIFA & WHO Health for All Ambassador

  • Drogba believes players have a responsibility to raise awareness

  • He was speaking during FIFA Club World Cup™ in Abu Dhabi

Former Chelsea FC striker Didier Drogba has called on the world to #ACTogether and ensure that all people, in all countries, have equal access to tools for COVID-19 treatments.

Drogba, who is a FIFA & World Health Organization (WHO) #ACTogether Ambassador, has long been a passionate advocate and supporter of various health awareness campaigns, including the battle against malaria and raising HIV awareness.

Now, Drogba is demanding a fair distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine globally, as that is the clearest route out of the worldwide pandemic.

“I think it’s so important for the fight against COVID-19 that everyone, everybody gets the same access to the vaccines,” said the Ivorian.

“What’s the point of having a part of the world vaccinated and the other one vaccinated at [levels of] one or three per cent?

“We’ve seen the damage of this virus. So, I think in order to reduce this pandemic that we’ve had in the past few years, I think it’s important that we all work together, we all act together.”

Drogba knows first-hand how important it is to make sure medical supplies are readily available globally.

“It’s so important to me because I come from a continent where we don’t really have access to all these things in terms of malaria, for example. I believe this is the number one killer in Africa,” he said.

“I think people like me have a kind of responsibility to spread the message to encourage people to buy a net, to have a net, or to encourage people to get vaccinated.

“Or to encourage people not to be scared of saying, “Yes, I’ve got HIV”. You know, you can be treated, and now, the medicine has improved and evolved so much that you can live with it. So rather than being discriminated [against], you can be included in our society. “I believe that’s something that I can do, and it costs nothing to do it.”

Not only does Drogba embrace the responsibility of being a high-profile person with a powerful voice, he said this obligation actually drove him on as a player.

“It actually helped me to feel the energy, find the energy to play better, and when you really feel that you are an example, that people look up to you,” said Drogba.

“You have less room for mistakes or crazy acts like I’ve had in the past; but at the same time, you show people that you are human and things affect you as well, so you’re one of them actually.”

Drogba was speaking during the FIFA Club World Cup™ 2021 in Abu Dhabi, before his former side Chelsea defeated Palmeiras in the final.

Didier Drogba and FIFA President meet at the FIFA Club World Cup UAE 2021 semi final

Chelsea’s UEFA Champions League triumph last year was the second time the London-based club got their hands on that trophy.

Drogba scored the equalising goal and winning penalty against FC Bayern München in the 2012 final.

“They (Chelsea) played really well (in the UEFA Champions League final), and against a really good team in Manchester City [FC],” he said.

“But for me, the most important thing is the legacy, is the way you inspire people, again, and I believe that we inspired them to go there and believe that they could win a second Champions League.

“Whereas when we won, the club had never won the Champions League, so we had to make it so people could believe that it’s possible.”

FIFA is working with the WHO to encourage football fans, world leaders and policymakers to #ACTogether to end the COVID-19 pandemic, with a special campaign running throughout the FIFA Club World Cup 2021™ in Abu Dhabi.