National athletes to get free COVID-19 vaccine
Philippine Olympic Committee president Abraham Tolentino

National athletes to get free COVID-19 vaccine

Joey Villar (Philstar.com) - January 5, 2021 - 4:47pm

MANILA, Philippines – All national athletes, not just the Olympians and Tokyo hopefuls, will be given the COVID-19 pandemic vaccine if made available.

Philippine Olympic Committee president Abraham Tolentino said on Tuesday’s Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum that they could fund the vaccination of more or less 1,000 members of the national team.

“This is very doable, money is not an issue,” said Tolentino. “Definitely, there will be some private sponsors and government funding intertwined.

“But personally, worst case scenario we get no funding, the POC and stakeholders are capable of shouldering the cost, it’s the supply and procurement that is most important,” he added.

And the POC can actually afford it since it would need to only shell out around P1 million to P3 million since the vaccine’s price range are from P1,000 to P2,900 per shot.

“If we’re talking about 1,000 athletes, that’s only P1 million. If we’re talking about Sinovac worth P2,900,m that’s only P2.9 million. If we’re talking about 10,000 athletes, that’s only P10m. It’s doable,” said Tolentino.

The Tagaytay Congressman and PhilCycling chief, however, stressed the Tokyo-bound athletes and hopefuls will be the first to be vaccinated since the country is focused on delivering a historic first Olympic gold.

At present, there are 83 Filipino hopefuls who are hoping to make the Olympic cut and 15 of them are being forecasted to join gymnast Caloy Yulo, pole-vaulter EJ Obiena and boxers Eumir Felix Marcial and Irish Magno in the quadrennial summer games.

That is not counting their coaches and training or sparring partners in martial arts disciplines.

“It’s around 200 pieces even if it’s just for the Olympic qualifiers first. Hopefully, we could procure it this month or next,” said Tolentino.

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