Australia desires to vaccinate athletes earlier than the Tokyo Video games

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Olympic rings can be seen near the National Stadium in Tokyo

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MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Australia plans to vaccinate its Olympians against COVID-19 before they go to the Tokyo Games, said Federal Sports Minister Richard Colbeck.

The advice of the panel coordinating the vaccination rollout plan indicated that athletes will likely be vaccinated before July 23rd and August 23rd. 8 games, Colbeck said in comments published by the Canberra Times on Thursday.

"If our plans are in order, it is quite possible that, for example, Olympic athletes will come to them before they leave for the games anyway," he was quoted as saying.

Colbeck later issued a statement stating that "older Australians, frontline workers and those with underlying medical conditions" have priority and that "most athletes" will be vaccinated at a later stage in the rollout.

A number of national Olympic committees plan to vaccinate their athletes before the Games.

The Israeli Olympic Committee said it has already vaccinated half of its Olympic delegation and will complete the process by the end of May.

International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach said Wednesday the governing body is not in favor of athletes "jumping in line" for COVID-19 vaccines.

The Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) hoped athletes could be vaccinated but said vulnerable people and health workers must come first.

"We recommend and encourage our athletes to be vaccinated, but support the IOC position that it is not mandatory," said an AOC spokesman.

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