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UPDATE: Poland to give COVID-19 shots to Olympic athletes, football squad

14.04.2021 17:40
Poland will give COVID-19 shots to athletes taking part in this year’s Tokyo Olympics and to its national football squad, which is counting down to the European championships.
Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki.
Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki. Photo: PAP/Leszek Szymański

Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki made the announcement at a press conference in Warsaw on Wednesday, 100 days before the Olympic Games are due to start.

"We want our athletes to bring us joy and hope in Tokyo," he said.

Wasting athletes' efforts would be 'big mistake'

Morawiecki added: "We know perfectly well how much effort it takes for athletes to prepare for the Olympics; we know that sometimes it's years of enormous effort, training and discipline, and wasting this would of course be a big mistake."

Deputy Prime Minister Piotr Gliński said that the decision to administer shots to athletes was possible because the highest-risk groups in Poland had already been vaccinated or were being inoculated, as were groups on the front line of the battle against the epidemic, such as medics and soldiers.

Gliński said shots for athletes could be organised from Wednesday.

He added that 1,077 Olympians plus coaches were in line for shots, as well as more than 60 people from the national football squad plus staff.

Healthcare workers were first in line to be inoculated in Poland against COVID-19, followed by nursing home residents.

Other priority groups for vaccination included the elderly and teachers.

Millions for Olympians

As well as being a deputy premier, Gliński heads the ministry of culture, national heritage and sport, which he said had allocated PLN 132 million (USD 35m, EUR 29m) this year to prepare Polish athletes for the Olympics.

The summer games, postponed last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, are scheduled to be held in the Japanese capital from July 23 to August 8.

Meanwhile, the Polish football team will in June face Slovakia, Spain and Sweden in the group stage of this year's European championships, a tournament rescheduled from last year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

(pk)

Source: PAP