Tokyo Olympics: Brazil to start delivering COVID-19 vaccines to athletes ahead of Games
12th May 2021

Brazil’s government is set to start delivering COVID-19 vaccines to athletes, coaches, referees and accredited media going to the Olympics and Paralympic Games in Tokyo.

Health Minister Marcelo Queiroga said on Tuesday that Brazil will use 4,050 doses of the Pfizer shot and another 8,000 from Chinese pharmaceutical company Sinovac.

“We will vaccinate our Olympic athletes and coaches to ensure they can perform very well in their capacities and bring many medals,” Queiroga said.

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He estimates 1,814 people will be vaccinated to go to Japan, with any remaining doses to be given to the public health care system.

The athlete vaccination programme will begin on Wednesday and will be conducted in Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Fortaleza. It follows similar measures being undertaken by countries including Britain, the United States, and Australia.

The Olympic Games, which have already been delayed 12 months because of the coronavirus pandemic, are scheduled to open on July 23.

Brazil has attributed more than 420,000 deaths to COVID-19, a toll second only to the United States. A more contagious variant of the disease caused the country’s health care system to nearly collapse in March and April, but the number of hospitalisations and deaths have decreased in May.

Brazil’s vaccination rollout has been slow, and has been targeted at people aged 60 and over. President Jair Bolsonaro has refused to take any vaccines and is under investigation in a Senate inquiry for his administration’s handling of the pandemic.

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