Go pleads: Include athletes in priority list for vaccination

Senator Christopher “Bong” Go yesterday appealed to vaccine czar Gen. Carlito Galvez, Jr. to include in the priority list for COVID-19 vaccination the Filipino athletes and other delegates who will be competing in the coming Tokyo Olympic Games and the Southeast Asian Games in Hanoi, both this year.

Go, Chair of the Senate Committee on Sports, said Galvez responded positively to the appeal.

He added that they are currently studying how the competing athletes can be prioritized. 

Galvez said this is without prejudice, to other sectors that have already been identified as top priority for vaccination, such as frontliners and those belonging to the poor and vulnerable sectors.

Citing the previous SEA Games, Go noted that athletes bring pride to the country and give Filipinos a sense of unity.

Go also emphasized that this is not merely about competition but also a source of livelihood for athletes and other sports professionals, especially those who come from poor communities. 

In a letter addressed to Galvez, the Philippine Sports Commission also requested for national athletes to be provided with COVID-19 vaccines once they are available.

“The members of the national team are among those high risk to the virus’ threat given their required qualification competitions held in various parts of the globe,” the PSC stated in the letter.

“With this, we see the urgency of asking for your help in giving protection to our elite pool of athletes playing for the flag despite the present global health crisis,” it added.

Currently, four national athletes in gymnast Carlos Yulo, pole vaulter Ernest John Obiena and boxers Eumir Felix Marcial and Irish Magno are preparing for the Tokyo 2021 Olympics, where they hope to bag the country’s first gold medal.

Other national athletes will also participate in the 2021 SEA Games in Hanoi, Vietnam to defend the Philippines’ overall championship.

“Amid the hardships we all bear and which we work hard to overcome, now, more than ever, we need more reasons to be united as one people and win as one nation,” he added.

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