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Japan might prioritize Olympic athletes for vaccine–stories

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Torch Relay Grand Begin torchbearer Nadeshiko Japan, Japan’s ladies’s nationwide soccer group, leads the torch relay in Naraha, Fukushima prefecture, Japan March 25, 2021. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon/Pool

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

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

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

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

Older folks will begin receiving doses solely from subsequent week, and up to now Japan has accredited 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 pictures by late June, Kyodo Information company reported, citing unnamed authorities sources.

Non-public 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.

Prime authorities spokesman Katsunobu Kato stated there was “no reality within the declare that the federal government is learning such a plan and the federal government has no intention of discussing it at this level.”

However he instructed reporters the federal government can be “intently watching discussions on athletes’ well being points” amongst Olympic officers, the Tokyo Video games organizers and host metropolis Tokyo.

On-line, the stories have been met with criticism, with one Japanese Twitter consumer calling on “all of the athletes to come back out and say they gained’t do that.”

“Will you thank the previous and sick individuals who died as a result of their vaccines have been 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 because the pandemic started.

However infections have spiked not too long ago in a number of elements 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 exhibits a majority of Japanese wish to see the Video games canceled or postponed additional, although assist for holding it this yr has elevated barely, hovering under 30 %.

IOC President Thomas Bach has stated vaccination isn’t a requirement for athletes competing on the Tokyo Video 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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