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PRIORITY BOOSTER JABS FOR SEAG ATHLETES URGED

With the postponement of the 2021 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games from November to May 2022, the Puwersa ng Bayaning Atleta (PBA) Party-list is urging the government to prioritize COVID-19 booster shots for national athletes joining the regional competition.

“The postponement actually gives us a time to administer booster shots to our athletes to ensure their safety against the coronavirus when they go to Vietnam to compete,” PBA Party-list spokesperson Atty. Migs Nograles said.

Nograles said the booster shots would give the SEA Games athletes peace of mind and remove any unnecessary distractions.

“When we say prioritize, we of course do not mean they should come before our medical frontliners. We just want to ensure that they all have been given booster shots by the time they leave for Vietnam,” she added.

Earlier this year, the Philippine government had approved the vaccination of all national athletes. including those joining the SEA Games and the Tokyo Olympics, with more than 700 Philippine athletes receiving the Sinovac coronavirus vaccine in May. The athletes were classified under the A4 category.

The PBA Party-list also previously called for the inclusion of student athletes in the government’s list of priority groups for vaccination against COVID-19.

Nograles said the booster shots would give the SEA Games athletes peace of mind and remove any unnecessary distractions.

“We want our athletes to just concentrate on their events. Ayaw na natin na mag-alala sila na baka magkasakit sila kasi magiging distraction lang ito sa kanila. We want them focused so they would be at peak performance,” the Davaoeña lawyer said.

The regional multi-event Games were originally scheduled to take place in Hanoi and 11 other locations in Vietnam from November 21 to December 2.

Vietnam’s Olympic committee recently announced the SEA Games in Vietnam would be postponed to May 12 to 23 next year, due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The regional multi-event Games were originally scheduled to take place in Hanoi and 11 other locations in Vietnam from November 21 to December 2. However, a devastating wave of COVID-19 cases hit many of the provinces slated to be hosting games.

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