Culture minister proposes athletes be vaccinated for Olympic qualifications

First COVID-19 vaccinations in Tallinn (photo is illustrative).
First COVID-19 vaccinations in Tallinn (photo is illustrative). Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

Outgoing Minister of Culture Tõnis Lukas (Isamaa) wrote in a proposal to the Ministry of Social Affairs that the ministry should also consider athletes when drawing up vaccination schedules. Lukas would see athletes vaccinated after health care and frontline workers.

Lukas' proposal names only athletes who have potential to participate in this year's Olympic or Paralympic Games, along with their accomodating staff. The culture minister named 78 athletes and 33 support staff in his primary proposal. Depending on the athletes' accomplishments in the coming months, there could also be additions to the list.

"For many Olympic disciplines, qualification in the first quarter of 2020 in the world and Europe was suspended to stop the spread of COVID-19. In the first quarter of 2021, international sports associations are planning on organizing the suspended qualification competitions now to identify athletes who will go to the Olympic Games," the culture minister explained.

13 Estonians have currently ensured their participation in this year's Olympic Games in Tokyo, with three of them going to the Paralympic Games. Some 80 athletes and four para-athletes are still looking to qualify for the games.

"For the named Estonian athletes to be able to train and compete in international competition around the world on equal conditions with other athletes, their vaccination is important. This is why we are making a proposal to consider Estonian athletes and their accomodating staff when drawing up lists of vaccinations and to organize their vaccinations after health care workers and other frontline workers get vaccinated as early as possible this year," Lukas wrote.

The list of athletes contains among others javelin thrower Magnus Kirt, tennis players Anett Kontaveit and Kaia Kanepi, Estonia's 3x3 basketball team. The Olympic Games will take place on July 23-August 8 in Tokyo. The games are followed by the Paralympic Games on August 24-September 5.


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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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