Sports minister seeks Covid-19 vaccinations for athletes competing abroad

By Lam Thoa   March 11, 2021 | 05:28 pm PT
Sports minister seeks Covid-19 vaccinations for athletes competing abroad
Gymnast Le Thanh Tung performs in the vault at SEA Games in the Philippines, December 2019. Photo by VnExpress/Lam Thoa.
The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism has submitted a proposal asking to have athletes vaccinated against Covid-19 prior to competing at international events.

Minister Nguyen Ngoc Thien, President of Vietnam Olympic Committee, asked Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and the National Steering Committee for Covid-19 Prevention to have Judo, wrestling, gymnastics and other athletes vaccinated.

He said this would give them peace of mind when competing abroad trying to earn tickets to 2021 Tokyo Olympics, set to begin July 23 regardless of the Covid-19 outbreak.

Only five Vietnamese athletes - two archers, one boxer, one swimmer and a gymnast - have so far qualified for the Olympics while the country aims to have 20.

Veteran shooter Hoang Xuan Vinh, 45, helped Vietnam pocket one gold and silver medal at 2016 Rio Olympics.

The minister's proposal did not include members of the Vietnamese football team. Coach Park Hang-seo and local players will go to either the United Arab Emirates or Thailand to complete their remaining World Cup 2022 Asian qualifiers. They will play Malaysia on June 7, Indonesia on June 11 and UAE on June 15.

Vietnam Football Federation is considering sending its own request regarding vaccination for national football teams.

The nation is currently on the top of group G in the qualifiers with 11 points. They will need to get at least seven points from their last three games to earn a spot in the final qualification round for 2022 World Cup.

Vietnam began rolling out its Covid-19 vaccination campaign Monday, prioritized for frontline workers in 13 cities and provinces with recent coronavirus outbreaks. The country has ordered 30 million doses from British-Swedish firm AstraZeneca, with around 117,600 arriving late last month. An additional 4.1 million AstraZeneca doses would be provided through global vaccine access mechanism Covax by April.

The coronavirus tally so far in Vietnam is 2,529, with 486 active cases and 35 deaths.

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