While Japan scrambles to upgrade their coronavirus vaccination programme ahead of the Tokyo Olympic Games . . . the British Olympic Association has confirmed that Team GB athletes and support staff will be fully vaccinated.
The IOC is spearheading inoculation of Olympic participants with Pfizer and other vaccines being distributed to participants through national Olympic committees around the world, free of charge.
The BOA said the IOC’s inoculation scheme means British athletes will not impact the country’s supplies, but vaccination will not be a pre-requisite for athletes’ selection or travel to the Games.
This could cause last minute problems when the athletes travel to Tokyo, due to the strict entry rules for the Games.
These require two COVID-19 tests on separate days, within 96 hours before they fly to Japan, with negative certificates for both. There will be a further COVID-19 test on arrival in Japan.
The British Sailing Team athletes are presently being tested twice a week.
The IOC has said vaccination will not be mandatory for athletes to compete at the Games but, IOC President Thomas Bach recently claimed that more than 80 per cent of people in the Athletes’ Village would be vaccinated.
Tokyo 2020 is also allowing an athlete ‘late replacement policy’ for Covid-related team changes post 7 July, which would allow the Team GB sailing squad to make athlete changes upto the 20 July if necessary – racing starts on the 25 July.
Japan’s government has just approved the use of two more coronavirus vaccines – from US firm Moderna and the UK-based AstraZeneca – in order to improve the speed of its inoculation program.
Japan has vaccinated less than 4.4% of its population with one jab (2% two jabs), compared with the UK with 52% one jab and 36% with two jabs.
Tokyo will finally begin mass vaccinations this week, and a vaccination campaign is also planned in Japan for the national Olympic delegation.