Japan may prioritise Olympic athletes for vaccine: Reports

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Japan is contemplating prioritising its Olympic athletes for coronavirus vaccines, aiming to get them innoculated earlier than the pandemic-postponed Tokyo Games open on July 23, native media stated Thursday.

Japan’s authorities denied any such plan was being thought-about, however stated it will be “closely watching discussions” about defending athletes’ well being.

The reported transfer sparked criticism on-line, with one Japanese Twitter person demanding: “Give it to my granny first!”

Japan’s vaccine rollout is transferring slowly, with only one million first doses given to this point to medical employees since jabs started in February.

Older folks will begin receiving doses solely from subsequent week, and to this point Japan has authorised solely the Pfizer vaccine.

A date has not but been set for vaccinating the broader inhabitants, however the authorities is now contemplating giving Japanese athletes each photographs by late June, Kyodo News company reported, citing unnamed authorities sources.

Private broadcaster Nippon TV and different media additionally reported the plan, with some mentioning that the proposed timeline would imply wholesome younger athletes would end their inoculations earlier than a few of Japan’s aged.

Top authorities spokesman Katsunobu Kato stated there was “no fact in the claim that the government is studying such a plan and the government has no intention of discussing it at this point.”

But he informed reporters the federal government could be “closely watching discussions on athletes’ health issues” amongst Olympic officers, the Tokyo Games organisers and host metropolis Tokyo.

Online, the stories had been met with criticism, with one Japanese Twitter person calling on “all the athletes to come out and say they won’t do this.”

“Will you thank the old and sick people who died because their vaccines were late for giving their lives for the Olympics?” requested one other.

Japan has seen a relatively small virus outbreak, with simply over 9,200 deaths for the reason that pandemic started.

But infections have spiked not too long ago in a number of components of the nation, together with Osaka in western Japan, which has determined to bar the Olympic torch relay from public roads within the prefecture.

Polling reveals a majority of Japanese need to see the Games cancelled or postponed additional, although help for holding it this yr has elevated barely, hovering beneath 30 %.

IOC President Thomas Bach has stated vaccination is just not a requirement for athletes competing on the Tokyo Games, however that Olympic officers will encourage members to get the jab.

The IOC plans to supply vaccines secured from China to athletes in international locations with out entry.

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