Include athletes in inoculation priority list â Tolentino
Sen. Francis Tolentino

Include athletes in inoculation priority list – Tolentino

Paolo Romero, Joey Villar (The Philippine Star) - May 10, 2021 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Francis Tolentino yesterday pitched for the athletes, appealing to the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) to include them in the government’s COVID-19 vaccination priority list.

Tolentino made the appeal as amateur and professional athletes have remained outside the priority list of vaccine recipients including the frontliners, senior citizens and people with comorbidity.

“The athletes should also be prioritized as sports development should be part of the post pandemic recovery process,” said Tolentino. “The physical well-being of our athletes is reflective of the health of the nation.”

Tolentino was hoping national athletes would be inoculated in time for the Tokyo Olympics from July 23 to Aug. 8 and the Hanoi Southeast Asian Games slated Nov. 21 to Dec. 3.

Of the seven Filipino Olympic qualifiers, only boxer Eumir Marcial has received a jab during his stay in the United States early this year.

The rest — gymnast Caloy Yulo, pole-vaulter EJ Obiena, pugs Irish Magno, Nesthy Petecio and Carlo Paalam and 2016 Rio weightlifting silver medalist Hidilyn Diaz — still have none.

The 626 athletes to see action in Hanoi also await their vaccines so they can meet their eyed start of training on July 1.

Philippine Olympic Committee president Abraham Tolentino said the Moderna vaccines pledged by ports tycoon Enrique Razon to Olympic-bound athletes are on the way.

“The vaccines are in transit (for Olympics-bound athletes), but the problem is that all of our Olympic-bound athletes are training abroad,” said the congressman from Tagaytay and PhilCycling chief. “We will try to contact our counterparts if it is possible to include our athletes in their countries’ vaccination program.”

Yulo is currently in Japan, Obiena in Formia, Italy, Diaz in Kuala Lumpur, , and Petecio, Magno and Paalam in Thailand.

The senator also stressed that professional athletes in the Philippine Basketball Association and other professional leagues — regardless of sports — should also be included in the A4 Priority of the IATF.

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