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South Korea begins vaccination of likely Olympic team members

Athletes and their entourage are being given priority ahead of the Tokyo games.

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South Korean Olympic table tennis team player Jeon Ji-Hee receives the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 coronavirus vaccine (Chung Sung-Jun/AP)

South Korean Olympic table tennis team player Jeon Ji-Hee receives the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 coronavirus vaccine (Chung Sung-Jun/AP)

South Korean Olympic table tennis team player Jeon Ji-Hee receives the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 coronavirus vaccine (Chung Sung-Jun/AP)

South Korea has begun administering fast-track Covid-19 vaccines to athletes, coaches and others expected to attend the Tokyo Olympics.

The Korean Sport & Olympic Committee says about 100 people received the first doses at a state-run Seoul hospital, the first day of the country’s prioritised vaccination programme for its Olympic delegation.

The committee says a total of 930 players, coaches, officials and other support staff will be given either Pfizer or AstraZeneca vaccines ahead of the Tokyo Games set to begin in July.

Athletes can receive the vaccines if they have already secured berths at the Olympics or may do so in qualification tournaments.

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The Tokyo Aquatics Centre, one of the venues of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games (Eugene Hoshiko/AP)

The Tokyo Aquatics Centre, one of the venues of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games (Eugene Hoshiko/AP)

AP/PA Images

The Tokyo Aquatics Centre, one of the venues of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games (Eugene Hoshiko/AP)

This means some may get vaccinated who do not go to the Games.

South Korea aims to send about 800-900 people to the Olympics, 350 of them athletes and coaches in 27 events.

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Committee officials expect to finalise the Olympic delegation in late June when all qualifying tournaments are finished.

The Sports Ministry says about 150 athletes and coaches hoping to attend the Tokyo Paralympics will separately get virus jabs on Friday and May 4.

Those also include athletes who are still under qualifying events.


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