United Kingdom

Amir Khan says AstraZeneca vaccine is safe and told UK's BAME community to have jab 

Amir Khan has revealed he suffered a painful reaction after being given the AstraZeneca vaccine - but insisted it's safe.

And the 34-year-old former world champion boxer strongly urged members of Britain's BAME communities to accept the jab.

His call comes amid concerns about take up rates in those communities compared to white Britons.

The Olympic medallist explained that he had sought advice from Islamic leaders before accepting the injection himself - and deciding to press others to follow his lead.

Amir, speaking by video from Dubai to London-based Instagram vlogger Kiran Rai said he had found the effects of the jab difficult for more than a day.

 Amire Khan pictured left with wife Faryal Makhdoom, right, revealed that he felt out of sorts for 28 hours after having the AstraZeneka jab, but told others in the BAME community to get it

He said: 'I'll tell you one thing . . . I had the worst headache for around 12 hours.

'The whole injection affected me for about 28 hours before I could get back to normal again.'

He said the illness he suffered after the anti-corona virus injection were a small price to pay for the benefits of the protection it offered against Covid.

'I would say to my fans that they should definitely take (the injection). It is something that you need and it is going to help you.

'Look at how many vaccines we have taken in our life solely to prevent illnesses and to make sure that we are going to be safe and strong.

'They should definitely take the vaccine. They should go and get it, especially the Asian community who may be holding back and saying 'No we can't take it' with some [Muslims] saying it is not halal.

'No. It ticks all the boxes. You are allowed to take it. I spoke to some very high Priests and they said the same thing.'

Amir has previously faced criticism for apparently flouting lockdown with trips from his hometown of Bolton to visit a restaurant in Coventry as well as a trip to Pakistan where he was photographed hugging a politician, who had tested positive.

And he acknowledged he's found lockdown difficult, saying: 'It is a tough time for everyone.

'Lockdown has been quite hard. I think it has been quite difficult for everyone.

'The gyms have been closed. I love boxing and I can't go to the gym. I can't do my sparring. I can't spend time with my trainer and because I have had to take precautions, I have hardly been to the gym.

Khan said he found lockdown hard because it meant he could hardly go to the gym and workout with his trainer, but the boxer hopes, with the vaccine roll out, that things will improve

'I miss being around the fans. They have started to introduce boxing on television without fans. I can't really relate to that because I have always been a fighter who has had fans supporting me and driving me and giving me that lift.'

But he said he was thankful to the NHS for the work it had put in to beat the virus.

'Big respect to the NHS staff. Without them we would be lost. They have been out there helping people and risking their own lives.'

The boxer, whose parents are of Pakistani origin, was asked about his feelings about Britain, specifically in relation to Prince Harry's decision to move away to live in California.

He replied: 'It is one of the best countries to live in and for him to turn away from the UK and go to America, I thought was quite bad.

'There is no right or wrong in it. They (Harry and Meghan) should live their own lives. They should be happy living their own lives. You only live once and if they wanted to go to America, we should let them go and they should enjoy it.

'But if they feel that in the UK they are not wanted and they feel they don't get respect or love or that freedom, I think they are wrong.'

Amir is the latest UK celeb of Asian heritage to make such a vaccine call. 

Personalities such as Romesh Ranganathan, Meera Syal, Ranvir Singh and cricketer Moeen Ali have all backed the jab. 

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