United Kingdom

British Olympic chiefs to speak to government about athlete vaccinations ahead of the Tokyo games

British Olympic chiefs will speak to the Government about how their athletes can be fully vaccinated before the Tokyo Games after the next phase of the national rollout was set out on Friday.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation confirmed that age rather than occupation would decide who next receives Covid-19 jabs once the top nine priority groups have been inoculated by mid-April.

It means those aged 40-49 will get their vaccines after all the over 50s have been jabbed, followed by the 30-39 and then 18-29 age categories, with all adults to be offered a first dose by the end of July.

Former Conservative MP Sir Hugh Robertson is the British Olympic Association chairman

However, under that timetable, almost all members of Team GB's 375-strong squad would only be in line for one jab before the Olympics start on July 23, as there is usually a 12-week delay between doses.

The BOA are said to be relaxed about the situation and remain confident they can get their athletes inoculated in time for Tokyo.

They are yet to have direct conversations with the Government about vaccines as they have always insisted their stars will not jump the queue ahead of vulnerable and elderly groups and frontline workers.

However, it is understood they do plan to have talks with health officials before phase two of the rollout begins in April to see if and how Olympians can get two doses before they fly to Japan.

Sprinter Dina Asher-Smith is one of Great Britain's big medal hopes ahead of the Olympics

Britain's Paralympians also face a race against time to be fully vaccinated before their event starts on August 24, although some of their athletes fall into priority categories.

The International Olympic Committee are encouraging as many athletes as possible to be vaccinated for the Games, but have not made it mandatory.

Last month, they asked all national Olympic committees (NOCs) to 'actively engage with their respective governments' on rollout schemes and report back in February.

Speaking earlier this week, IOC president Thomas Bach said: 'The contacts of the NOCs with their respective governments is making very good progress.

'In a number of countries, vaccination of the Olympic team has even started, and other NOCs will make contact with their governments in the next couple of weeks.'

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