Indian Olympic Association (IOA) secretary-general Rajeev Mehta on Monday requested the Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan to expedite the process for the vaccination of the country's Tokyo Olympic-bound athletes and officials against the novel coronavirus.
With the Summer Games just little more than three months away, Mehta reminded Harsh Vardhan of IOA's request, made on February 3.
"...since there are very few months left for the Games and the safety of the participants are utmost important so to ensure all of them are vaccinated for COVID-19 prior to travel to Tokyo.
"Therefore, we once again request your good office to consider the request and issue necessary direction," Mehta wrote in his letter.
The IOA official also shot off a letter to AIIMS Director Dr Randeep Guleria, informing him about their correspondence with the Health Minister.
"Approximately, 158 athletes from India are expected to participate in almost 17 sports. Since there are few months left for the commencement of the Tokyo Olympic Games, two dosage of vaccination for the athletes and officials representing India is required consideration on priority.
"We request your good office to consider vaccination of COVID-19 for the Indian athletes and officials, who will represent India at5 the Tokyo Olympics," Mehta wrote to Dr Guleria.
Mehta further said that it is the duty of IOA and National Sports Federations (NSFs) to coordinate with the athletes, who are currently training at different places across the country, for the vaccination drive.
The IOA top official also wrote to World Anti-Doping Agency Director General Olivier Niggli, informing him about the two vaccines available in the country and seeking its approval for the drive ahead of the Olympics.
"There are two vaccines already available in India, namely COVISHIELD by Serum Institute and COVAXIN by Bharat Biotech. The Government has permitted these two vaccines for its citizens and the vaccination is going on in India," Mehta wrote to WADA chief.
"So, we would like to request the WADA for its direction and approval to vaccinate the Indian athletes and officials participating in the Tokyo Olympic Games."