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Olympic, SEAG-bound athletes to be vaccinated starting Friday

MEMBERS of Team Philippines seeing action in the Olympic Games and Southeast Asian Games later this year will be vaccinated beginning on Friday.

MEMBERS of Team Philippines seeing action in the Olympic Games and Southeast Asian Games (SEAG) later this year will be vaccinated beginning Friday, May 28.

This was announced by Philippine Olympic Committee  (POC) President Abraham Tolentino during the online Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum on Tuesday after they got the nod from the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID).

“The big announcement today is that the IATF has also approved the vaccination this Friday which will be exclusive for Olympic-bound and SEA Games-bound delegates,” said Mr. Tolentino.

The development came after the government approved the request of the POC and the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) last week that athletes bound for the Tokyo Olympics and 2021 SEA Games in Hanoi be prioritized for the vaccination against the coronavirus.

To be included in the vaccination are athletes, coaches, national sports association (NSA) officials, and journalists set to go to the high-level international competitions.

The vaccination will take place at the Manila Prince Hotel beginning at 9 a.m.

Mr. Tolentino, however, said the vaccination will only be partial as there are still athletes whose participation for the SEA Games is still to be determined with some national qualifiers yet to take place.

But those whose participation is already assured may proceed with the vaccination.

The POC is currently threshing out the details for the vaccination and coordinating with the different NSAs and pertinent government agencies as to how athletes outside of Metro Manila can have their vaccines without having the need to travel far.

The POC and the PSC batted for the prioritization of the national team to allow the athletes to train better and with less worries with the end view of having the best possible representation in the targeted sporting events.

It also geared towards adhering to the Vietnam SEA Games Organizing Committee’s “no vaccine, no participation” policy which will be in effect in the Hanoi Games.

Also approved by the IATF last week was the training of NSAs for the SEA Games but in adherence to guidelines set by the POC, PSC, Department of Health, and the Games and Amusements Board.

Mr. Tolentino encouraged members of Team Philippines to have their vaccines.

“I think there should not be doubts about it (vaccination) anymore.”

Nine Filipinos to date have qualified for the Olympics, namely, pole-vaulter EJ Obiena, gymnast Caloy Yulo, boxers Eumir Felix Marcial, Irish Magno, Nesthy Petecio and Carlo Paalam, weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz, rower Cris Nievarez, and taekwondo jin Kurt Barbosa.

Mr. Marcial has gotten two doses of the vaccines while he was in the United States while Ms. Diaz got her first shot in Malaysia two weeks ago.

The Olympics in Tokyo, Japan, happens from July 23 to Aug. 8

The POC, meanwhile, earlier said it intends to send 626 athletes competing in 39 sports in Hanoi, which will take place from Nov. 21 to Dec. 2. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo

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