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No priority for Irish Olympic athletes for vaccines | Minister Jack Chambers

Shane Hannon
Shane Hannon

09:01 16 Apr 2021

The Minister of State for Sport Jack Chambers says he expects there will be no priority given to Olympic athletes for Covid-19 vaccinations, ahead of the Tokyo Games this summer.

The International Olympic Committee has said participants are encouraged to get vaccinated before going to Japan, however it will not be mandatory.

Denmark, Hungary and Israel have all vaccinated their athletes ahead of the begininning of the Olympics on July 23rd, while Germany have come out strongly against the notion of athletes skipping the queue.

The Junior sports minister and Fianna Fáil TD for Dublin West, Chambers told Adrian and Eoin on OTB AM this morning that he is happy with the current order of priority for the jabs.

"I know there have been different responses to this across different countries. There has been a message from the IOC that Olympians should follow the national sequencing as it's set out by each member state or by each nation themselves.

"We've obviously got an age-based sequence now that is transparent and fair, and that's how we've decided to pursue vaccination right now.

"In fairness, certainly that's what the message from the Olympic Federation has been... [that] the organisations within countries should follow the national sequence.

"I think that's important so we maintain the integrity around vaccination."

When pushed for a direct answer as to whether or not he sees athletes here getting moved up the pecking order in any way, Chambers said he did not see that happening.

"Well, no. At the moment we've got sequencing based on age, and I think that's transparent and fair. Certainly that was reflected by... on our sports management group we've got a representative of the athletes themselves and I think they recognise the sensitivity around this.

"We've seen other instances with issues with our vaccination in terms of who is prioritised over who. We all agree that age is the single biggest issue when it comes to the impact of Covid."

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