The British Olympic Association has stressed there is no question of jumping the queue when it comes to securing vaccinations for athletes preparing for this summer’s delayed Tokyo Games.
Long-serving Canadian IOC member Dick Pound has suggested that Olympic-bound athletes might be moved up the priority list in order to guarantee their ability to compete in the Japanese capital.
However, the PA news agency understands the BOA is not currently in active conversations with the government with regard to the issue of vaccinations for athletes.
BOA chief executive Andy Anson told the PA news agency: “The priority has to be the people who need it most – frontline workers, the elderly and the vulnerable.
“There will come a time, hopefully ahead of the Olympic Games when the athletes can be considered for vaccination, but we’ll only do that when it’s appropriate.”
Speaking earlier to Sky News, Pound had proposed that there would not necessarily be a “public outcry” if athletes were fast-forwarded towards a vaccine, even if it came at the expense of some at-risk groups.
Pound said: “In Canada where we might have 300 or 400 athletes – to take 300 or 400 vaccines out of several million in order to have Canada represented at an international event of this stature, character and level – I don’t think there would be any kind of a public outcry about that.
“It’s a decision for each country to make and there will be people saying they are jumping the queue but I think that is the most realistic way of it going ahead.”
Neither the IOC nor Tokyo officials have indicated that a vaccination will be a mandatory requirement for those attending the Games.
Japan is currently in the process of approving the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine which has been already rolled out in a number of countries, as Tokyo officials weigh up whether to declare a state of emergency due to a recent rise in cases.
Pound’s proposal appears to contradict the opinion of IOC president Thomas Bach, who maintained in September that athletes should not be prioritised at the expense of key workers and the vulnerable.