Japan will vaccinate its athletes for the Olympics before the rest of the population

05/12/2021 at 4:39 PM CEST

Japan plans to vaccinate its athletes who will participate in the Tokyo Olympics scheduled for this summer before the rest of the population, according to the organizers of the event, who face a growing rejection among citizens on Wednesday.

Japanese athletes competing in the Tokyo Games will receive part of the anti-covid vaccines provided by the pharmaceutical companies Pfizer and BioNTech within the framework of an agreement between these companies and the International Olympic Committee (IOC), according to the president of the Tokyo 2020 organizing committee, Seiko Hashimoto.

Hashimoto thus confirmed the information that Japanese media had advanced, and that have generated discontent among citizens as well as doubts among Japanese athletes, about whether it is legal to receive the vaccine before the rest of the population.

I want to create an environment where athletes do not feel bad or doubtful about being vaccinated“, said the person in charge of Tokyo 2020 in a telematic press conference offered this Wednesday on the occasion of the participation of the organizers in a meeting of the IOC executive committee.

The reason for the vaccination of Japanese athletes within the aforementioned initiative is “that the national vaccination campaign is not going with much progress“As Hashimoto said, as well as the fact that the IOC has recommended inoculating all international athletes who will attend the Games.

Japan began its vaccination campaign on February 15, but to date it has only inoculated 4% of its population with at least one dose, a figure that includes all health professionals and part of its citizens over 65 years of age. the two groups considered priority.

The decision to vaccinate athletes before the bulk of the Japanese population, which according to the Executive’s plans will not begin until July (the opening of the Games is scheduled for the 23rd of that month), aims to “protect citizens Japanese, “according to Hashimoto.

Those who in principle will not be vaccinated as a priority are the approximately 78,000 workers of the organization and volunteers who will collaborate in the operation of the Games, said the executive director of Tokyo 2020, Toshiro Muto, when asked about this group.

The executive director also reaffirmed that “at no time” has the possibility of canceling the Tokyo Games been discussed due to the pandemic situation in Japan during meetings between the hosts and the IOC.

The president of this body, Thomas Bach, canceled a visit to Japan that was scheduled for next week due to the extension until the end of the month of the state of health emergency due to coronavirus in Tokyo and other regions announced by the Japanese Executive last Friday due to the fourth wave of infections that affects the country.

The latest polls show that eBetween 60 and 70% of the Japanese are in favor of canceling or postponing the Games again due to the pandemic, while an online initiative to end the Games “to protect the lives” of citizens has collected more than 330,000 signatures since it was launched last week.

The number of patients with severe symptoms of covid-19 today reached a new daily record in Japan, with 1,189 cases, which continues to worsen the shortage of hospital places for this type of patient.

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