Sydney, Australia, Apr 28 (EFE).- The Australian government will prioritize the vaccination of more than 2,000 athletes and support staff heading to the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo in July.
“We want to see our athletes head to Tokyo to compete and then return to Australia safely,” Health Minister Greg Hunt said Tuesday night in a joint statement with Sports Minister Richard Colbeck.
The immunization of 2,050 athletes and officials with doses from Pfizer, and AztraZeneca for those aged over 50, from next week is “a great relief” for them and their families, said the chief executive of the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC), Matt Carroll.
“It’s a weight off their minds, they know with a vaccination they’ll be safer from a health point of view and they’ll now be able to really concentrate on the Games,” he told national broadcaster ABC on Wednesday.
He added that the AOC is willing to negotiate with states and territories for “bespoke” quarantine arrangements for the team’s return to Australia, a country that has kept its international borders closed since March 2020, with few exceptions.
Australia, which has managed the Covid-19 pandemic well, is facing delays in its vaccination plan, which began at the end of February and expected to end in October, due to import problems, side effects and recent severe flooding in parts of the country.
To date, the Australian authorities have administered 2 million doses in the country of 25 million citizens.
Since the beginning of the pandemic Australia has accumulated 29,700 infections, including 910 deaths.