COVID-19 safety a priority at Tokyo Olympics, but vaccines not required

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TOKYO, JAPAN – JULY 22: Jordan Chiles of Team United States trains in the floor exercise during Women’s Podium Training ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Ariake Gymnastics Centre on July 22, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

TOKYO, Japan (WCMH) — Officials at the Tokyo Olympics are working hard to make sure the spectacle doesn’t become a super-spreader event. Even so, health advisors say mandatory vaccinations are not part of the plan.

“We knew at that time. . .that there would be a vaccine available but we also knew that the vaccine will not be equally available around the world,” said Dr. Bryan McCloskey, coronavirus advisor to Tokyo. “And we didn’t want a situation where essentially athletes from rich countries could go to the games athletes in poor countries couldn’t.”

Dr. McCloskey said all other precautions are being taken to halt the spread of the virus.

“We realize there is a lot of work to be done to make sure we have the right measures in place…to ensure the games will go ahead in a safe and secure way,” Dr. McCloskey said.

Among those recommendations: daily testing for athletes in the Olympic Village plus testing six hours before competition, and testing and location tracking of the media.

The risk of infection still remains for the unvaccinated — which means more than 75 percent of the country of Japan.

That statistic doesn’t seem to worry Olympic health advisors, who say contact with the public will be minimal.

“We have to remember that particularly in relation to spreading outside of the village, the degree of contact between the international community inside the village and the local Japanese public outside is extremely small,” Dr. McCloskey said.

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