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AFP
April 9, 2021

Japan may prioritise Olympic athletes for vaccine: reports

Sports

AFP
April 9, 2021

TOKYO: Japan is considering prioritising its Olympic athletes for coronavirus vaccines, aiming to get them innoculated before the pandemic-postponed Tokyo Games open on July 23, local media said Thursday.

Japan’s government denied any such plan was being considered, but said it would be “closely watching discussions” about protecting athletes’ health.

The reported move sparked criticism online, with one Japanese Twitter user demanding: “Give it to my granny first!”

Japan’s vaccine rollout is moving slowly, with just one million first doses given so far to medical workers since jabs began in February.

Older people will start receiving doses only from next week, and so far Japan has approved only the Pfizer vaccine.

A date has not yet been set for vaccinating the broader population, but the government is now considering giving Japanese athletes both shots by late June, Kyodo News agency reported, citing unnamed government sources.

Private broadcaster Nippon TV and other media also reported the plan, with some pointing out that the proposed timeline would mean healthy young athletes would finish their inoculations before some of Japan’s elderly.