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As public anger grows over the slow pace of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, Japan is gearing up to offer jabs to its Olympic and Paralympic athletes and staff using donated shots.

Preparations continue apace even after a union of Japanese hospital doctors warned Wednesday that holding the Tokyo Olympics safely as the pandemic rages would be “impossible.”

Prefectural governors in the Tokyo area, meanwhile, are blanking requests to allocate hospital beds for Olympic athletes infected with the virus, joining a growing chorus of voices calling on those involved in the games to be denied preferential treatment.

No thoughts of cancelling Olympics despite Japan's rise in COVID-19 cases: IOC | GLOBAL NEWS
No thoughts of cancelling Olympics despite Japan’s rise in COVID-19 cases: IOC | GLOBAL NEWS

But it’s not all bad news on the medical front: Around 280 sports doctors have applied for 200 spots the Tokyo 2020 organizers want to fill in time for the games, sources say, after the committee appealed for qualified volunteers to step up.

And in a now-familiar pattern, big names from the Olympic movement and other interested parties continue to offer words of support for the games — most recently, the IOC has reiterated its backing, as have the WHO and China.

But others are wavering. Major sponsor Toyota now says it is “conflicted” about the games, and even Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama has admitted to harboring “mixed feelings” on the issue.

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