Vietnam to bar non-vaccinated delegates from 31st SEAG
CEBU CITY, Philippines — The Southeast Asian Games (SEAG) organizing committee will be enforcing a strict “No vaccine, no participation” policy for all participants of the 31st SEA Games in Hanoi, Vietnam from November 21 to December 2.
The inoculation of national athletes and coaches bound for the 31st SEA Games with anti-Covid-19 vaccine has become imperative after the Vietnamese organizers enforced the policy for the biennial meet.
The Vietnam SEA Games Organizing Committee made the announcement on Tuesday, May 18, 2021, during an online SEA Games Federation meeting according to Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) President Rep. Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino.
Tolentino said the Vietnamese organizers assured national representatives during the meeting that the SEAG will push through as scheduled but stressed the strict implementation of the vaccine policy.
“Their policy [no vaccine, no participation policy] is for the good of everyone,” said Tolentino, who wrote the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) to prioritize the inoculation of SEA Games-bound delegates, especially athletes and coaches.
“Most of the athletes from our Southeast Asian counterparts are already vaccinated and we’re the only country that is left behind,” Tolentino said. “But we already wrote the IATF to prioritize the SEA Games-bound delegates. We’re ready to take any vaccine [brand].”
The POC intends to send 626 athletes to this year’s SEA Games. They will participate in all but one of the 40 sports being calendared by the host country.
Tolentino said that the national sports associations (NSAs) have been advised to identify the athletes who will be prioritized for the vaccination program.
“Before we fly to Vietnam, everyone should be vaccinated,” Tolentino said. “Or better yet, before the NSAs start training their athletes face-to-face.”
Tolentino said the POC has a $40,000 (P1.9 million) grant from the Olympic Council of Asia that would be used to purchase the vaccines.
POC first vice president Al Panlilio, who was tasked to purchase the vaccines, assured that the entire delegation would be inoculated as soon as the vaccines are made available.
Currently, Tokyo Olympics-bound athletes Eumir Felix Marcial and Hidilyn Diaz have already been vaccinated. / with PR from POC
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