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Countries debate vaccine prioritisation for Tokyo Olympic athletes

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) will encourage athletes to get vaccinations for coronavirus ahead of the delayed Tokyo 2020 Games, however, countries around the world are divided on whether athletes should be prioritised for the vaccine.

Countries debate vaccine prioritisation for Tokyo Olympic athletes

In February, the IOC released a playbook for athletes that outlines rules for preventing infections. It emphasized that vaccination prior to the Olympics is advised and said: "This is to contribute to the safe environment of the games, but also out of respect for the Japanese people."

In Japan they have started giving out vaccinations, healthcare workers are currently being vaccinated, with older people and people with underlying healthcare conditions next. Seiko Hashimoto, president of the Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games said that vaccinations is ‘the first step towards hope’. The Japanese Olympic Committee are against giving priority to athletes and says participants should receive the vaccine at the same time as general public.

Have a vaccination is not mandatory for participation, however the IOC has recommended that all athletes should receive it and Chief Thomas Bach requested Japan specifically take the same measures as they are the host nation.

The Wall Street Journal released an article, which claimed that they believed that the vaccination difficulties had become a Political issue, and many different countries have different stances on it.

New Zealand and Greece are both considering making athletes priority for vaccinations, with Greece already requesting to their Government to consider it. The Russian Olympic Committee has said they’re ready to offer support if needed. In Hungary, Serbia and Israel athletes have already started receiving shots if they wish to. Hungary started near the end of January, with the hope to be able to successfully participate in Olympic qualifying. They’ve managed to give out 868 vaccines.

In Germany, athletes have been given a survey to see whether they would prefer priority or not, with 72% of 676 people saying they would prefer to get vaccinated as normal and only 18% wanting priority vaccines. The President of The German Olympic Sports Confederation, Alfons Hormann has said that priority measures are unnecessary, and believes they can vaccinate a significant amount of people in time.

Author: Abraham Adebayo