Vaccine rollout for SEA Games, Tokyo-bound PH athletes starts Friday
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine delegation bound for the Tokyo Olympics and Southeast Asian Games will finally get inoculated against COVID-19 this week.
Philippine Olympic Committee president Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino said the vaccination begins on Friday at Manila Prince Hotel in Manila.
The inoculation, which is scheduled from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., will be overseen by secretary Carlito Galvez, chief implementer of the National Task Force against COVID-19, Department of Health (DOH) secretary Francisco Duque III, and secretary Vince Dizon, the country’s COVID-19 testing czar.
“We all know that the IATF has approved the prioritization of vaccination of Olympic-bound and SEA Games-bound delegates. And the good news now is that our vaccination day on Friday for Olympic-bound delegates and SEA Games-bound delegates has also been approved,” said Tolentino in Filipino during the PSA Forum on Tuesday.
“Rollout begins on Friday,” he added. “Let’s all get vaccinated.”
The vaccination couldn’t have come at an opportune time with the Hanoi SEA Games Federation imposing a “no vaccination, no participation” policy for all athletes, coaches and officials in the biennial meet set from Nov. 21 to Dec. 2.
The Tokyo Olympics, however, will not require participants to be vaccinated, as per International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach.
Tolentino also encouraged members of the Philippine team who qualified for the two international meets to get vaccinated—whichever brand it may be—especially to those who are in Manila.
“With the surge that’s happening in India, in the entire world, everyone is now racing to get vaccinated. I think many are not hesitating anymore and they’re not being picky which brand they’re going to take.”
Tolentino said national athletes who would refuse to be vaccinated have no choice but to give up their slots in the SEA Games.
“We can’t do anything about it anymore. We won’t force you but you won’t be included in the list if you really don’t want to get vaccinated,” he said. “So their respective sports will decide who will replace you if you don’t want to get vaccinated. You will be denied of entry in Vietnam so why would we even include you in the list.”
The Philippines is expected to send a delegation of 600-plus which will compete in 39 sports in Vietnam.
Meanwhile, less than 100 athletes, coaches and officials will likely make up the Philippine team in Tokyo.
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