IOA chief Narinder Batra: Vaccination of Tokyo-bound athletes is our priority

Batra is in discussion with the Health and Sports ministries and is confident that a timeline will be chalked out very soon

By Samrat Chakraborty ·

Indian Olympic Association (IOA) president Narinder Batra assured on Friday that getting the Tokyo-bound athletes vaccinated is their top priority

He said that the association is in close contact with the respective ministries to chalk out a plan and timeline for the same.

“We are having discussions with all concerned departments including Health Ministry, Sports Ministry and NADA. We are very much on track and we hope very soon will come up with a proper plan for it,” Batra told ANI.

When queried about a possible date he said:

“As of now, discussions are on. Once everything is fine-tuned will let you know. As of now, I can only say that vaccination of our athletes is our topmost priority and we are working on it with seriousness.”

Union Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju had also promised that the Olympic berth holders will be vaccinated on a priority basis.

“Whether it is Tokyo Olympics or any big event happening, the preference will be given to Olympic-bound athletes as well as the (support) staff because it is time-bound,” Rijiju said previously.

“Our athletes will be given preference and we will work it out with the health ministry. We will ensure that all the international participants and organisers are given due importance in all the mechanisms to ensure their safety and security,” he added.

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India began its domestic coronavirus vaccine roll-out on January 16 using both Serum’s Covishield and the indigenously-developed inoculation from Bharat Biotech International Ltd.

The first dose was administered to a health worker at All India Institute of Medical Sciences in Delhi.

The Indian health ministry has drawn up plans for 300 million people to be vaccinated by August. Frontline healthcare workers, police and the army have been given priority, with those over 50 and with co-morbidity conditions to follow, all free of cost. However, it remains to be seen when the government gives a go-ahead to inoculate the athletes.

The Tokyo Games are scheduled to be held from July 23 to August 8, 2021, while the Paralympics will take place from August 24 to September 5, 2021.