The Australian Olympic team’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout officially opened on Monday, with female swimming star Cate Campbell among the first to receive the vaccination.
It was announced in late April that Aussie athletes and support staff preparing for the Tokyo Games would be given priority for vaccines, with the Australian government putting Olympic participants under a priority group that includes health-care workers, Indigenous people aged over 55 and people older than 70.
Campbell, a five-time Olympic medalist, will aim to qualify for her fourth Olympic team next month at the Australian Olympic Trials.
The 28-year-old said it was a huge relief for the athletes to get the vaccines done.
“We are going into a pretty unknown situation over in Tokyo so to have this little band-aid is a huge weight off everyone’s shoulders,” Campbell said, according to ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation).
“I’m really glad that we can get it far enough away from the Olympics so that if there are any adverse side effects, we’ll be well and truly over them by the time it comes around to Olympic Trials.”
Campbell is reportedly one of 2,050 athletes and officials, including the Paralympic team, who will be vaccinated in the lead-up to the Olympics. Vaccine hubs have been set up in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth.
Australian Olympic Committee CEO Matt Carroll added that the athletes aren’t jumping the queue.
“There’s no-one who is to be vaccinated in the current cohort under the Australian Government’s system who is missing out,” Carroll said, adding that the athlete vaccines are being rolled out separately from the public system.
It remains up to the athletes whether or not they want to receive the vaccination. All those getting the vaccine are expected to have it done by the end of next week, with the second dose administered four weeks later.
Campbell is scheduled to compete in the last real tune-up meet before the Trials, which will run June 12-17, at this weekend’s Sydney Open (May 13-16).