POC heaves sigh of relief as gov't approves early vaccination of national athletes, coaches

ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 21 2021 10:12 PM

POC heaves sigh of relief as gov't approves early vaccination of national athletes, coaches 1
Athletes from the Philippines march during the SEA Games closing ceremonies at the athletics stadium in Clark on December 11, 2019. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News/file

The Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) expressed gratitude to the government for approving its request to prioritize national athletes and coaches for vaccination against COVID-19. 

The Palace announced on Friday that the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases allowed the early vaccination of national athletes and coaches who will see action in the Tokyo Olympics and the Hanoi Southeast Asian Games.

The Olympics are due in two months from July 23 to August 8 while the SEA Games are set from November 21 to December 2.

The IATF included the national athletes, coaches, delegates and officials in both events in Priority Group A4.

Eight Filipinos have so far qualified for the Olympics but only boxer Eumir Felix Marcial has gotten two doses of the vaccine while he was in the US. Weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz got her first shot in Malaysia two weeks ago.

The other Tokyo-bound athletes—gymnast Carlos Yulo, rower Cris Niervaez, pole vaulter EJ Obiena and boxers Nesthy Petecio, Carlo Paalam and Irish Magno—have yet to be vaccinated. Except for Nievarez, all are based abroad.

The POC intends to send 626 athletes who will be competing in 39 of the 40 sports in the Hanoi Games.

The IATF has also approved the bubble-type training of athletes and coaches subject to the applicable guidelines of the Philippine Sports Commission, Games and Amusements Board and the Department of Health.