Team SA to receive Covid-19 vaccines ahead of Tokyo Games

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AFP

With two months to go before the Tokyo Olympics opening ceremony, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) have arranged for its athletes to get vaccinated prior to the Tokyo Games. 

The IOC has made vaccine doses available to all athletes of member countries that are participating in the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The vaccination of athletes is not compulsory, however this offer is a further intervention to ensure safe delivery of the games.

The Tokyo Olympics is scheduled to run from 24 July to 8 August with the Paralympics taking place from 24 August to 5 September.  

The South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) has been in consultation with the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture as well as the Department of Health to roll out vaccines to the full Team SA delegation that have been accredited for the Tokyo Games.

"Engagement with government to vaccinate our athletes had long since commenced. The offer from the IOC/IPC is therefore in line with Sascoc's position that we take every precaution to ensure the safety of our athletes in delivering Team SA to the Tokyo Games," commented the Sascoc acting CEO, Ravi Govender.

"We are grateful for the support and facilitation by the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture and the Department of Health as well as the generosity of the IOC/IPC."

Sascoc revealed that a test phase commenced on Thursday at the the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital, where 31 accredited Team SA members were successfully vaccinated.

The roll out will fully commence on Monday, 24 May at various vaccination sites throughout the country, which include Bloemfontein, Durban, Pretoria, Cape Town and Johannesburg.

"The medical team from the Department of Health as well as Sascoc staff, are working together to contact the athletes and arrange vaccination dates and times to ensure that an efficient and smooth process is maintained," read it's statement.

"The roll out of vaccinations to Team SA is independent of and does not disrupt nor place any burden on the Government’s program to roll out vaccinations to the South African Public."

South Africa is looking to compete in 23 of the 33 Olympic sports on offer, with many still in the process of qualifying for July's tournament.

Team SA is expected to make their first Olympic team announcement in May with the last Olympic athletes would be revealed on 4 July.

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