World Health Organization officials said on January 25 that athletes participating in the Tokyo Olympic Games should not have the priority of vaccination against the novel coronavirus, especially should not jump in line before medical workers and the elderly.
According to USA Today on the 25th, Michael Ryan, the head of the WHO Health Emergency Project, was asked at a press conference held at WHO headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland on the same day whether athletes participating in the Tokyo Olympic Games should be given priority to vaccination.
Ryan replied that although the WHO hopes that everyone can be vaccinated against the novel coronavirus, at this stage, the focus of vaccination must be on high-risk groups.
“We are facing a global crisis where front-line medical workers, senior citizens and the most vulnerable in society should be given priority vaccination.” Ryan said that it is not to deny the desire to hold an international sports event like the Olympic Games, but it must recognize the reality that “there are not enough vaccines available at present, and there is not enough supply for high-risk people.”
Ryan also said that WHO will continue to advise the International Olympic Committee and the Japanese government, but the response to the pandemic and whether to host the Olympic Games should be decided by the organizers.
Ryan’s statement responded to the concerns of the French Olympic Committee earlier that day.
According to AFP, Denis Masseglia, President of the French Olympic Committee, said on the 25th that athletes from various countries participating in the Tokyo Olympics will encounter “great difficulties” if they do not get the coronavirus vaccine.
Marcella said that athletes who did not get vaccinated not only had to go to Japan “quarantine for two weeks”, but also “have to be tested for [nucleic acid] in the morning and evening”.
However, Marcella also said that athletes should not be given priority to vaccination before other groups, “but between now and the opening of the Olympic Games, we can assume that it is possible to vaccinate athletes while fair to others.”
Affected by the coronavirus pandemic, the Tokyo Olympic Games have been postponed for a year and are scheduled to open on July 23 this year.
USA Today reported that IOC President Bach has repeatedly said that the first batch of vaccines should be provided to medical workers and high-risk groups.
He also said that vaccination is not a prerequisite for participating in the Olympic Games, but also urges athletes in a position to be vaccinated.