Australia is planning to vaccinate its Olympians against COVID-19 before they head to the Tokyo Games, federal sport minister Richard Colbeck said.

Colbeck confirmed plans were in place for athletes to be given COVID-19 vaccines before the games, which are scheduled to run from July 23 to Aug. 8.

“We have received advice from ATAGI (Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation) on a rollout plan, athletes fit within the plan and we’ll get to them,” Colbeck said in comments published by the Canberra Times on Thursday.

“If our plans work OK it may very well be conceivable that Olympic athletes, for example, we’ll get to them before they head off to the games anyway.”

A number of national Olympic committees are planning to vaccinate their athletes.

Israel’s Olympic Committee told Reuters on Wednesday that it had already vaccinated half its Olympic delegation and would complete the process by the end of May.

International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach said on Wednesday the governing body was not in favor of athletes “jumping the queue” for COVID-19 vaccines.

The Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) said it hoped athletes could be vaccinated but said vulnerable people and health workers must come first.

“We are recommending and encouraging our athletes to get vaccinated but support the IOC position that it’s not mandatory,” an AOC spokesman said on Thursday.

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