Chairman Hinkelien Schreuder of the Dutch athletes committee understands very well that giving priority to Olympic athletes in the vaccination process leads to skewed faces. She says that the athletes are very happy with the decision.
“There are plenty of stories from people who just as well deserve priority. That is also the great dilemma of which top athletes are extremely aware,” says Schreuder. “I can only say that the athletes feel incredibly privileged.”
The top athletes have had an exceptional position throughout almost the entire corona pandemic. And now they also get priority in the vaccination process a hundred days before the start of the Olympic Games in Japan.
“I think I speak on behalf of all top athletes when I say that they are reasonably relieved,” said Schreuder, who competed as a swimmer in the 2008 and 2012 Games. “We know that many exceptions were made for top sport last year. the athletes greatly appreciative of the government. “
The athletes committee has received more and more questions about the vaccination process in recent weeks. “Will we be able to get a vaccine before the Games or do we have to go to China ourselves to get an injection?” I heard, ”says Schreuder. “If athletes are given an exceptional position, but ultimately are not vaccinated in time, they still run an incredibly high risk in Tokyo.”
‘The pressure started to build’
The athletes belonged to the sizeable group that is the last to act in the government’s injection strategy. The Olympians would be eligible for a vaccine at the earliest in June, one month before the start of the Games. According to Schreuder, the government does not argue for priority over the risk groups, but for a response as soon as possible.
“The pressure started to mount. An uneven playing field threatened to arise, because other countries have vaccinated all their athletes. The IOC is asking everyone to come to Japan vaccinated. Most athletes would like to comply with this.”
Schreuder hopes that the Tokiogangers can get an injection “as soon as possible”. “Because the preparation for the Games is really in danger if you become infected now. Even mild side effects can have a major negative effect, because you have a training delay of two weeks. You don’t want that. Not to mention about the risk of a positive test in Tokyo, which will exclude you from the Games, ”she says.
“It feels like an enormous privilege that the athletes will now have their turn quickly. Including supervisors, it will be a group of about six hundred people. We hope that the burden on the vaccination system will be as little as possible, for example from the medical staff. from NOC * NSF to have the injections done. “