Irish journalists covering 2020 Olympics set to benefit from additional vaccines

Most reporters will have had at least one dose via State rollout before travelling to Japan

Depending on age and other profiles, most journalists will have had at least one vaccine dose by the time they are due to travel via the normal State rollout. Photograph: Kimimasa Mayama/EPA

Depending on age and other profiles, most journalists will have had at least one vaccine dose by the time they are due to travel via the normal State rollout. Photograph: Kimimasa Mayama/EPA

 

Irish journalists accredited to cover the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo this summer look set to benefit from additional Covid-19 vaccines supplied through the Olympic Federation of Ireland (OFI).

The vaccines are not part of the national supply currently being administered to the broader population and journalists will only benefit once athletes and support staff travelling to Japan have received theirs.

It follows an agreement earlier this month between Pfizer and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for the allocation of additional vaccines to athletes internationally.

It is understood that the OFI will begin engaging with accredited media this week but it is not yet clear when surplus vaccine supplies may become available.

Depending on age and other profiles, most journalists will have had at least one vaccine dose by the time they are due to travel via the normal State rollout. However, the Olympic supply could be used to supplement first administered doses and all aspects of how to use the supply are under consideration.

Uncertainty

However, for now there remains some uncertainty over the exact number of Irish athletes who will qualify for the games. Therefore these priority recipients cannot be completed although distribution has begun. It is expected that between 80 and 100 athletes as well as 160 to 200 support staff are likely to be headed to Japan.

Confirming the plans to The Irish Times, OFI chief executive Peter Sherrard said it was under consideration but “we think that a lot [of the journalists] by the time we get to the games will be vaccinated through the national rollout”. The Olympic Games, which were postponed from last year, are due to begin on July 23rd.

Mr Sherrard explained that the possibility of using vaccine doses on accredited media, as an extension of those travelling to and being a part of the games, was within the framework of the international Olympic deal with Pfizer. Ireland is just one of many beneficiaries.

In a statement, the Department of Sport said it was made aware by the OFI of the decision by Pfizer to donate doses of its vaccines.

“The vaccinations being supplied by Pfizer are supplementary to the existing allocations that Ireland is administering and will not negatively impact the vaccinations that are being administered around the country already,” it said. “The Department has no role and is not involved in the operation or administration of these vaccines.”