On Wednesday, the New Zealand Government gave the green signal for the early access to covid vaccines for Olympic and Paralympic athletes.
The New Zealand government has announced the criteria for early access. The athletes representing the country at huge events like Olympics, Paralympics or ICC World Championship will fall into this category.
On Wednesday, during the media briefing, Chris Hipkins, a responsible minister, told the press that people would be eligible to jump the queue and get vaccines on compassionate grounds or for reasons of national significance.
The application for early access will begin from 31st March 2021. The decision regarding vaccination is down to the New Zealand Cricket Board and New Zealand Olympic Committee.
New Zealand Athletes To Get Early Access To Covid 19 Vaccines: Chris Hipkins
While speaking to the media, the official statement of Chris Hipkins read,
The key yardstick here is people traveling in an official capacity and ensuring their participation is in our national interest. We also expect these requests will need to be made by the appropriate agency or association on behalf of the individual, not by the individuals themselves. The final consideration is the level of risk travelers will be exposed to in the destination country.
They will have to make an application and it will depend on what sort of events they are participating in, to whether they fit the national interest criteria. But certainly, your expectation is that the Olympians would be eligible under the national interest criteria and a national sports team participating in a significant event would also meet those criteria. My understanding is that we are talking about a few hundred potential athletes and sports people who might fit the category, so it is not a large group but, certainly, where the national significance criteria are met, then yes they would be able to.
New Zealand is scheduled to travel to England to play India in the finals of the World Test Championships. The final will be played at Southampton on June 18-22. The Tokyo Olympics is scheduled in Japan from 23rd June to 8th August. The Olympics are followed by Paralympics which will be conducted in late August.
Chris Hipkins also made it clear that vaccinated people will still have to follow the 14 days isolation. No decisions were made regarding the removal of 14-day isolation for vaccinated people.
Around 11,000 athletes are expected to participate in the Tokyo Olympics 2021. During the Rio Olympics 2016, New Zealand had sent a total of 199 athletes at the Rio Olympics. The team New Zealand managed to win 18 medals.