MANILA, Philippines -- Olympic-bound pole vaulter EJ Obiena is likely to wait until after the Tokyo Games to get his COVID-19 vaccine, according to his father, Emerson.
Speaking at the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum on Tuesday morning, the elder Obiena said that EJ and his team are worried that the effects of the jab may interfere with the program that they have put together leading up to the Tokyo Olympics.
"Kasi po 'yung training program nila, naka-place na po. As much as possible, they would like to follow 'yung progression ng training nila papuntang Olympics," he explained.
Obiena has had conversations with other athletes who got the vaccine, said Emerson, and some of them endured side effects for up to 10 days.
"Hindi maganda 'yung pakiramdam ng atleta," said Emerson. "Kasi 'yung 10 days na hindi ka makapag-training, malaki po ang effect noon sa preparation ng Olympics. Sayang 'yung pinaghandaan kung mahihinto dahil doon."
Thus, Obiena and his team feel that it is best to put off vaccination, at least before he competes in Tokyo.
"Sa ngayon, deferred muna ang vaccine," said Emerson.
"Pinag-aaralan kung meron pang time para talaga maisingit 'yung vaccination. Pero kung hindi, dagdagan na lang po 'yung ingat para po 'yung preparation, hindi po maapektuhan," he added.
"Then after siguro po ng Olympics, saka po pag-usapan kung kailan dapat magpa-vaccine."
Filipino athletes, particularly those bound for the Olympics and the Southeast Asian Games, recently received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Meanwhile, Filipino athletes abroad -- especially those who will compete in Tokyo -- were also able to get the jab. The Philippine Olympic Committee has received assurance that weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz and her team will get their second dose in Malaysia, while Japanese sports officials guaranteed the inoculation of gymnast Carlos Yulo and his Japanese coach Munehiro Kugimiya.
The country's national boxing team -- particularly Olympic qualifiers Irish Magno, Nesthy Petecio, and Carlo Paalam -- will get their jabs at their Thailand training camp.
Eumir Felix Marcial completed his vaccines in Las Vegas earlier this year.
Taekwondo's Kurt Bryan Barbosa and newly-qualified skateboarder Tokyo Olympian Margielyn Didal will get their first dose in the second batch of mass vaccination of athletes and coaches within the month.
Tokyo organizers have not made vaccination mandatory for participation in the Olympic Games, although POC president Rep. Abraham "Bambol" Tolentino said they "cannot put the well-being and health of our athletes at risk."
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