The Vietnam SEA Games Organizing Committee has imposed a requirement for all participating SEA Games athletes to undergo Covid-19 vaccination for them to be cleared to play.
Philippine Olympic Committee president Abraham Tolentino said the policy is for the good of everyone.
The decision was announced during the online SEA Games Federation meeting Tuesday.
This development means the 626-man Philippine team for the biennial meet scheduled on Nov. 21 to Dec. 2 would have to be vaccinated first before heading to Hanoi.
All the athletes must be inoculated as soon as possible, which considering the current pace of vaccination is a thing of urgency.
“Most of the athletes from our Southeast Asian counterparts are already vaccinated and we’re the only country that is left behind,” Tolentino said. “But we already wrote the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases to prioritize the SEA Games-bound delegates. We’re ready to take any vaccine brand.”
So far, only weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz and boxer Eumir Marcial have been inoculated.
Tolentino wants everyone to be vaccinated before they fly to Hanoi “or better yet, before the national sports associations start training their athletes face-to-face.”
The POC has a P1.9 million grant from the Olympic Council of Asia for the procurement of vaccines.
POC first vice president Al Panlilio of basketball assured that the vaccines will be quickly used once they arrive.*PNA