The U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committees revealed that nearly 100 athletes are attending the Olympics unvaccinated.
Medical director Jonathan Finnoff told AP News that he estimated 83% of American Olympic athletes are vaccinated against COVID-19. The figure derives from medical surveys completed by 567 of the team’s 617 members.
In comparison, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 49.1% of the population is fully vaccinated. The International Olympic Committee believes that 85% of Olympic Village residents have been vaccinated based on reports from each country’s committee.
“Eighty-three percent is actually a substantial number and we’re quite happy with it,” Finnoff said.
Leading up to the Tokyo Olympics, the International Olympic Committee announced doses of the Pfizer vaccine would be available to all athletes. Athletes were not required to be fully vaccinated to compete, however. The IOC requires athletes – regardless of vaccination status – to be tested for COVID before traveling, after they arrive in Japan, and during each day of the Olympics.
The IOC has so far reported 13 athletes have tested positive in Japan. Among them are two Americans – beach volleyball player Taylor Crabb and gymnast Kara Eaker. Both had previously said they had been vaccinated.
The US’s men’s basketball team had to reshuffle their roster after two team members tested positive for coronavirus and had to be isolated.
Coco Gauff, who was set to become the youngest Olympic tennis player, announced on July 18th that she had contracted COVID-19 and would not compete.
— Coco Gauff (@CocoGauff) July 18, 2021
U.S. Olympic swimmer Michael Andrew sparked controversy when he told a reporter that he was not vaccinated. The 22-year-old said “I am not fully vaccinated, I’m not vaccinated… My reason behind it is, for one, it was kind of a last moment, I didn’t want to put anything in my body that I didn’t know how I would potentially react to. As an athlete on the elite level, everything you do is very calculated and understood. For me, in the training cycle, especially leading up to trials, I didn’t want to risk any days out. There were periods where you take a vaccine, you have to deal with some days off.”
He also told Fox Business Network that he was “representing [his] country in multiple ways and the freedoms we have to make a decision.”
Former gold medalist Maya DiRado tweeted a lengthy critique of Andrew’s decision. She wrote, “that Michael would make a decision that puts even a bit of risk on his teammates for his own perceived well-being frustrates me.”
As a former member of Team USA, I'm disappointed in @SwimmerMichael 's decision to attend the Olympics unvaccinated and his reasoning behind it. Please allow me to explain [1/8]
— Maya DiRado (@MayaDiRado) July 20, 2021
Other Olympians came to Andrew’s defense. “Michael is allowed to make his own decisions and I can guarantee you that none of us here are holding any decision like that against him,” teammate Patrick Callan tweeted. “He is still doing everything in the best interest of this team.”
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