Olympics: Team USA athletes signal readiness for COVID-19 vaccine | Sports

By Amy Tennery

(Reuters) – United States Olympic hopefuls stated they have been prepared and keen to obtain the COVID-19 vaccine, because the three-day Team USA digital media summit kicked off on Wednesday, a 12 months after the lethal pandemic pressured a delay to the Tokyo 2020 Video games.

The US Olympic & Paralympic Committee (USOPC)reiterated that it will not require athletes to get a shot to compete in Tokyo, however will encourage them to take action, as Japan enters what seems to be a fourth wave of the pandemic.

Perry Baker, a 34-year-old rugby athlete who featured within the 2016 Rio Video games, stated after some preliminary doubts he was motivated to get the vaccine out of concern not solely for others’ security however to assist guarantee his Olympic desires keep on observe.

“All of the laborious work that we’ve put in after these final 10, 12 months and we don’t need to get there (and) we are able to’t play as a result of we haven’t been vaccinated or whatnot, regardless of the case could also be,” Baker advised reporters. “So sure, I will likely be getting vaccinated.”

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IOC Vice President John Coates beforehand stated that whereas athletes will likely be inspired to get vaccinated, they won’t be required, with Tokyo organizers barring worldwide spectators.

Kara Kohler, who gained bronze within the quad sculls in 2012 and can make her single-sculls debut in Tokyo, stated “fairly a couple of” of her U.S. teammates have been sidelined after contracting the virus within the early levels of the pandemic.

“I am all the time hesitant, I normally do not prefer to get, like, yearly flu pictures and stuff. But it surely looks like I will be getting this one as a result of I don’t need to take the danger,” stated Kohler, 30. “I don’t need to threat getting sick and having respiratory points and never having the ability to race.”

USOPC medical chief Jon Finnoff advised Reuters earlier this 12 months that some athletes, like every phase of most people, merely will not be snug getting the vaccine, with some elevating considerations relating to its potential influence to efficiency.

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However Dana Mathewson, 30, a wheelchair tennis athlete who’s subsequent touring to Turkey to compete, stated she had a vaccine appointment set for Saturday and was wanting ahead to the “peace of thoughts.”

“As a lot as there’s concern about it being new and also you’re not likely certain the way you’re going to react to getting the vaccine, I’d a lot quite have a barely opposed response to a vaccine than really get COVID,” stated Mathewson.

(Reporting by Amy Tennery; Modifying by Christopher Cushing)

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