MANILA, Philippines — National athletes would be the first to be injected with the vaccine for the COVID-19 once it is made available.
“If we have the money, I am committed to give vaccines to all our athletes,” said Philippine Sports Commission chairman William Ramirez in an online presser it hosted yesterday.
Ramirez said he expects the vaccine to be available in the country by June, and he plans to find ways to secure funding.
“If there’s no money, we will ask from the government and I will call (Health) Secretary (Francisco) Duque for the cost of the vaccine and we will reach out to them,” he said.
A vaccine, of course, would solve the country’s problem with regards to the delay of the resumption of training of the national team headed by Tokyo-bound athletes and those seeking Olympic qualification.
At present, the nationals have yet to do face-to-face training even though the PSC has already laid down plan of holding a training bubble at the Inspire Sports Academy in Calamba, Laguna.
Only athletes based abroad are in training, with soome already competing.
In this list are world champion gymnast Caloy Yulo (Japan), pole vaulter EJ Obiena (Italy), boxer Eumir Marcial (United States), 2016 Rio weightlifting silver medalist Hidilyn Diaz (Kuala Lumpur) and other US-based athletes like sprinter Kristina Knott, hurdler Eric Cray, shot putter William Morrison and pole-vaulter Natalie Uy.
Ramirez said the national athletes could actually start training only if the ultra-strict protocols set by government would be followed to the letter.
“I know our athletes are eager to get back into action but we are very careful about this because if there is one who did not follow the rules, we would have to stop it and close it down because the lives of our athletes are out utmost concern,” said Ramirez.
“But if they would diligently follow all the protocols set, they could start as early as tomorrow,” he added.
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