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Coronavirus

South Korea Inoculates Olympic Athletes Ahead of Tokyo Games

SEOUL, South Korea — South Korea has begun administering fast-track COVID-19 vaccines to athletes, coaches and others expected to attend the Tokyo Olympics.

The Korean Sport & Olympic Committee says about 100 people received the first doses at a state-run Seoul hospital on Thursday, the first day of the country’s prioritized vaccination program for its Olympic delegation.

The committee says a total of 930 players, coaches, officials and other support staff will be given either Pfizer or AstraZeneca vaccines ahead of the Tokyo Games set to begin in July.

Athletes can receive the vaccines if they have already secured berths at the Olympics or may do so in qualification tournaments. This means some may get vaccinated who don’t go to the Games.

South Korea aims to send about 800-900 people to the Olympics, 350 of them athletes and coaches in 27 events. Committee officials expect to finalize the Olympic delegation in late June when all qualifying tournaments are finished.

The Sports Ministry says about 150 athletes and coaches hoping to attend the Tokyo Paralympics will separately get virus shots on Friday and May 4. Those also include athletes who are still under qualifying events.

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