S. Korea begins vaccinating Olympic athletes against COVID-19 ahead of Tokyo Games
Updated: 2021-04-30 06:54:25 KST
The inoculation of South Korea's Olympic and Paralympic squad has finally begun.
100 athletes and coaches set to participate in the upcoming Tokyo Games received Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday at the National Medical Center in Seoul.
The first batch included 2012 Olympic taekwondo silver medalist Lee Dae-hoon and star volleyball player Kim Yeon-koung.
"I was nervous at first, but it didn't hurt as much as I thought it would. I think I'll be less anxious after my second dose."
According to the nation's Olympic body, around 500 others will be inoculated by May 4th.
And in total, 931 people from Korea's delegation will be vaccinated before the Summer Olympics begin in July.
Among them, 598 athletes, coaches and delegation members under the age of 30 will receive the Pfizer shots, which require a much shorter interval between doses compared to the AstraZeneca vaccine.
Olympic organizers have also unveiled the second version of their Playbook.
Stricter virus prevention measures, including a plan to test athletes daily, have been rolled out amid a global COVID-19 resurgence.
Athletes and staff will now have to be tested twice within 96 hours before leaving their home countries and present negative certificates.
In terms of spectators, the president of the Tokyo Olympics Organizing Committee Seiko Hashimoto on Wednesday said that having empty venues at this summer's Games is a possibility.
"Under the state of emergency, we may need to decide at the very last minute and we have made up our mind that the Games could be held without spectators. But, I also want to inform you that we also hope that if the situation allows, we want as many spectators as possible."
Spectators from overseas have already been banned and a decision on whether to rule out even domestic spectators will be made in June, just weeks before the Opening Ceremony.
Vaccinations aren't mandatory for athletes to participate in the Olympics, but it's highly recommended if shots are available in their home countries.
Han Seong-woo, Arirang News.