Jamaican Olympians split on taking COVID vaccineThursday, March 04, 2021
To be jabbed or not to be jabbed?
The question rages on about the taking of the vaccines that were rapidly produced to combat the spread of the novel corornavirus that has ravaged the planet for the better part of a year.
While doctors and scientists proclaim the necessity of taking the vaccine, some people have expressed scepticism about the rushed process, among other concerns, around the production of vaccines in a number of countries.
The vaccines are seen as a way to return things to normal, but the debate continues about whether people should be forced to take it.
Japan is committed to hosting the delayed 2020 Olympic Games in Toyko, starting in late July, even as they struggle to control the growing number of infected people in that country.
Some see the taking of the vaccine as a key component to the safe staging of the Games, but Jamaican athletes remain split in their views on whether they will submit to taking the new, experimental vaccine.
Last week it was announced that Jamaica would be receiving a shipment of vaccines from India, although it is yet to be determined who will be the first recipients.
Three of Jamaica's most senior male sprinters expressed different opinions about the vaccine after competing at the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA) Qualification Trials at National Stadium last Saturday.
Nesta Carter said he was ready to take the vaccine, showing no hesitancy.
“I wasn't expecting it from India…but whenever the vaccine comes, I'm in line,” he said.
Former 100m world record holder Asafa Powell said that based on what he does for a living, he has no choice but to take the jab.
“I think if I am against it, that means I should retire right now because I think it's going to be mandatory. It's like a visa, if you don't have a visa you can't travel to the US or to wherever in the world,” he said.
Powell did express reservations about taking the vaccine, but felt it was beyond his control to determine whether he had a choice.
“I'm not with it, but I don't think I have a choice but to get it.”
He also urges his fellow athletes to make the decision to take the vaccine if they intended to remain professionals in the sport.
“So, I think for the athletes, I think they need to rethink it. You definitely need the vaccine before you can go away and compete,” Powell said.
However, Yohan Blake, who had made his feelings known in a previous forum, remained steadfast that he would not submit to taking the vaccine, stating clearly that he would prefer to miss the Tokyo Games instead.
“My mind still stays strong. I don't want any vaccine. I would rather miss the Olympics than take any vaccine, so I am not taking it,” he said.
When pressed about his stance on the taking of the vaccine, Blake said he would prefer not to go into details.
“I don't really want to get into it right now, but I have my reasons,” he said.
Meanwhile, a decision has not yet been made about whether athletes and officials involved in the Olympic Games in Japan would be mandated to take the vaccine before being allowed to participate in the event.
— Dwayne Richards
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