•Sports CS Amina Mohammed has promised to ensure all sportspersons get the coronavirus vaccine
•Close to 3,500 vaccines have been secured to vaccinate sportspersons set to compete at major international events
Sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohammed has promised to ensure all sportspersons get the coronavirus vaccine so they can train and compete without the stress of infections.
Amina said her ministry— in conjunction with Olympics Kenya, Ministry of Health and Nairobi Metropolitan Services — will prioritise members of Team Kenya to the Tokyo Olympics, as well as other international events.
"We have secured close to 3,500 vaccines for this exercise. By the middle of next week, we want to ensure that most of the sportspersons are already vaccinated. This vaccination program will prioritise those participating in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics Games, all personnel working on the WRC/FIA Safari Rally Kenya, World Athletics Under 20 Championships, World Athletics Continental Tour, the Rugby Barthes Cup, all Sports SAGAS, specifically Sports Kenya, the Kenya Academy of Sports, Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya, Sports, Arts and Social Development Fund and all Ministry of Sports frontline staffers," Amina said.
She urged athletes to encourage one another to come for the jab to avoid the disappointment and embarrassment of being barred from participating in international competitions.
"Do not let anyone who has not received the jab come into contact with you. Encourage one another to come for the jab. The program will be carried out in a safe and dignified manner. Increasingly sports organisers around the world are requiring that delegations possess Covid-19 vaccination passports, over and above, a negative Covid-19 PCR test certificate. This exercise will guarantee that our athletes continue to represent the country in these crucial events," she said.
The CS was speaking at the Moi Stadium, Kasarani on Thursday morning when she oversaw the commencement of the national vaccination program where various sportspersons have been training in a bubble camp since the beginning of the year.
She promised the athletes of a second phase of vaccination program in early June, over a month before the Tokyo Olympics.
"In the middle of next week, I will write a letter to the president of the International Olympic Committee to inform him that you have already received the first dose.It is my hope that this show of resolve by our global ambassadors inspires fellow compatriots qualified to take the vaccine at this time to present themselves in large numbers," Amina said.
The CS promised to take the vaccine herself after all the 3,500 sportspersons targeted in the first phase of the exercise have been vaccinated.