British Olympic Association chairman Hugh Robertson will speak to the British government about the possibility of fully vaccinating Olympic athletes before the Tokyo Olympics.
Per The Daily Mail, the United Kingdom expects to have all adults vaccinated with at least the first does by late July. Currently, the nation is vaccinating priority groups, but plans to finish with that group by mid-April. The next wave of vaccines will start with older populations (ages 50+) before moving down to younger age groups.
With most Olympic athletes falling into the younger age groups, that plan would have most of Great Britain’s Olympic team receiving only the first dose of the two-dose vaccine before traveling to Tokyo for the 2021 Olympic Games.
The Daily Mail reports that the British Olympic Association is “relaxed about the situation and remain confident they can get their athletes inoculated in time for Tokyo.” The Olympic body hasn’t yet talked to the government about vaccinating athletes, and has maintained that athletes shouldn’t get priority over the highest-risk groups like the elderly and frontline health care workers.
But the BOA will talk to the government before April, hoping to come up with a plan in which Olympians can get both vaccine doses before their flights to Japan for the July Olympic Games. Paralympians have a bit more flexibility in their timeline, with the Tokyo Paralympics starting in late August, but getting the Paralympic team vaccinated is another “race against time” according to The Daily Mail.
Some countries, including India, the Philippines, Denmark, Lithuania, Israel, Serbia and Hungary, have announced that they will vaccinate all Olympic coaches and athletes before their departures to the Olympic Games. Canada’s Olympic Committee has talked to the Canadian government about vaccinating athletes. And German swimming legend Michael Gross wrote an editorial emphasizing the importance of vaccinating Olympic teams and noting the practical difficulty of regularly testing the huge number of athletes and coaches during the Olympics.