Indian Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju has claimed the country’s athletes heading to the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo will all be vaccinated against COVID-19. According to The Indian Express, Rijiju said the vaccination would be given first to medical and security people, but all athletes would be inoculated in time for Tokyo Olympic.
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“The Government’s policy is very clear,” he said.
First of all, the vaccine will be provided to the warriors. the medical and security people. Our Olympic-bound athletes and their trainers will be provided priority in our Ministry but overall priority is set by the Ministry of Health.
They will all be vaccinated before they go for the Olympics, whoever goes. We will also take into account the time between two doses and everything else. India currently has 74 athletes qualified for the Olympics and 24 for the Paralympics, although the qualification is still ongoing in numerous sports.
Tokyo Olympic was postponed to 2021 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, with the Olympics now scheduled from July 23 to August and the Paralympics set to follow from August 24 to September 5. Uncertainty continues to linger over the staging of the Games later this year as many countries are battling to curb rising infection rates.
While the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and Tokyo Olympic have stressed vaccines will not be a “silver bullet” for the Games, their development has nonetheless boosted hopes of competition going ahead. The IOC has repeatedly said it will not jump the queue ahead of those who need a vaccination most and has insisted it will not be mandatory for athletes to compete at the Games.
A playbook released by the IOC and the International Paralympic Committee for International Federation and technical officials has reiterated vaccines will not be mandatory for participants to attend Tokyo Olympic, with measures such as frequent testing, masks and social distancing set to be in place instead.
Hungary and Serbia began inoculating their Olympic athletes last week, while Israel’s Olympic Committee says it has already vaccinated half its Olympic delegation and will complete the process by the end of May. Other National Olympic Committees from countries such as Canada, Britain and Italy have decided not to ask for their athletes to be given priority for vaccinations.
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