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How different countries are doing vaccination drive for their athletes ahead of Tokyo Olympics

Here, we look at how different countries are going about the vaccination drives for their athletes ahead of the Tokyo Olympics.

How different countries are doing vaccination drive for their athletes ahead of Tokyo Olympics

Abhijit Nair

Updated: 9 May 2021 4:00 AM GMT

The 2020 Tokyo Olympics is just less than three months away. While usually this is a time when the athletes and federations are solely focused on earning podium finishes at the Olympics, the situation this time is a bit different.

Since the covid-19 pandemic engulfed the world last year and the Olympics were pushed back by almost a year, there has been just one question in the minds of people across the world, "When will a vaccine be available?"

One year down the line, the world currently has multiple vaccines at its disposal and the Olympics is upon us yet again. The question this time remains, "Will all the athletes expected to compete in Tokyo be vaccinated?"

Here, we look at how different countries are going about the vaccination drives for their athletes ahead of the Tokyo Olympics:


The Indian government opened up vaccination for all the Tokyo Olympics bound athletes on 1st May 2021. The Sports Minister of the country, Kiren Rijiju, has time and again reiterated that the government will not force the athletes to get vaccinated and that it is a voluntary decision of the athlete whether they want to get jabbed or not.

Quite a few Tokyo bound players including grappler Bajranj Punia, the shooting contingent, the Indian hockey team, archers and others have been vaccinated.


The hosts for the 2020 Olympics, Japan seems to be in a real mess with citizens of the country opposing the Tokyo Games overwhelmingly. The country has even announced health emergency at quite a few places including the host city Tokyo till 11th May 2021.

Even the general vaccination drive in the country has been very slow, with only 1% of the population vaccinated as of 20th April 2021. Though there were rumors in the last month about the country starting vaccination drives for its Olympic athletes, nothing seems to have materialised as of now. With a very slow vaccine roll out and the citizens of the country being not in favour of hosting the Olympics, it remains to be seen if the Japanese athletes are vaccinated at all or not.


As around two third of the Italian Olympics bound athletes are belongs to the military, they have already been vaccinated. The vaccination drive for the remaining non-military athletes will begin from Friday, 7th May 2021, according to the Italian National Olympic Committee (CONI).


China has been in forefront of the global vaccination drive for athletes. The country had even offered the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to vaccinate all the athletes participating in the 2020 Tokyo Games and the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.


The United States of America's Olympic chiefs had said that the 'Tokyo bound athletes from the country will be vaccinated well before the Olympics' as far back as March 2021. Quite a few of the American athletes, too, have displayed their eagerness to get jabbed.

The USA government did open up vaccination for all the adults on 19th April 2021, but no news of any Tokyo bound athlete being vaccinated has been reported.

South Korea

With an aim to have a 'safe and successful participation in Games' for their athletes; the South Korean government has started to vaccinate their Olympic bound athletes. The vaccination drive for athletes was started towards the end of April 2021 in the country and the government hopes to vaccinate around 930 athletes, coaches, officials and other support staffs ahead of the Tokyo Olympics.


The Australian Olympic Committee (AOC), during last week announced their plans to vaccinate the country's Olympic bound athletes. Around 2,050 of Australian athletes and support staffs are expected to be given priority to get jabbed before the start of the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics.


The Russian Sports Minister Oleg Matytsin had in the month of March said that the country will make vaccines available for its Olympics bound athletes soon. Much like India, the Russian government too has reiterated that to get jabbed or not would be an athlete's personal decision.

Great Britain

Almost half the population of Great Britain has received at least the first dose of vaccination, according to reports. The British government opened up vaccinations for everyone aged 20 and plans to vaccinate every athlete before they embark on their journey to Tokyo.

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