MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Australia aims to vaccinate its Olympians against COVID-19 before they head to the Tokyo Olympics, said federal sports minister Richard Colbeck.
Advice from the body that coordinates vaccination launch plans suggests that athletes will most likely be inoculated before 23 July-August. 8 Games, Colbeck said in comments published by the Canberra Times on Thursday.
“If our plans are successful, it is very likely that the Olympic athletes, for example, we will discuss it before they go to the Olympics,” he was quoted as saying.
Colbeck later issued a statement saying that “older Australians, frontline workers and those with underlying medical conditions” will be prioritized and that “most athletes” will be vaccinated in the next phase of launch.
A number of national olympic committees plan to vaccinate their athletes before the Olympics.
Israel’s Olympic Committee says it has vaccinated half of the Olympic delegation and will complete the process by the end of May.
South Korean Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun said, “Of course athletes have to be vaccinated if they are going to participate,” when asked in an interview with Reuters on Thursday.
South Korea has said it will decide whether to vaccinate the 157 athletes registered so far when Japan comes to an official decision to continue with the Olympics.
International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach said on Wednesday that the governing body does not support athletes who “jump in line” for the COVID-19 vaccine.
The Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) said it hoped athletes could be vaccinated but said vulnerable people and healthcare workers should come first.
“We recommend and encourage our athletes to be vaccinated but support the IOC’s position that it is not mandatory,” said an AOC spokesman.
Reporting by Ian Ransom and Hyonhee Shin in Seoul; Edited by Toby Davis, Edwina Gibbs, Peter Rutherford
to request modification Contact us at Here or [email protected]