Filipino athletes competing in the 31st Southeast Asian Games in Hanoi, Vietnam, later this year must be vaccinated against the coronavirus after organizers decided to enforce a “no vaccine, no participation” policy.
The Vietnam SEA Games Organizing Committee made the announcement during an online SEA Games Federation meeting on Tuesday, said Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) President Abraham Tolentino.
The POC head that they were assured by the organizing committee that the biennial Games will push through but they will be strict in enforcing the vaccine policy.
“Their policy [no vaccine, no participation policy] is for the good of everyone,” said Mr. Tolentino in a statement.
He went to share that in relation to this they have written the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) to consider prioritizing as well the inoculation of SEA Games-bound delegates, especially athletes and coaches.
“Most of the athletes from our Southeast Asian counterparts are already vaccinated and we’re the only country that is left behind,” Mr. Tolentino underscored.
Earlier, the POC said it intends to send 626 athletes for the Vietnam SEA Games, competing 39 sports.
The local Olympic body has already advised all national sports association to identify the athletes who will be prioritized for the vaccination program.
For its vaccination program, the POC has a $40,000 (P1.9-million) grant from the Olympic Council of Asia that would be used to purchase the vaccines.
POC first vice president Al Panlilio was tasked to lead the vaccine procurement. – Michael Angelo S. Murillo