Olympians against skipping vaccine line

For many Canadian athletes heading to the Tokyo Olympics, the thought of receiving a vaccine against COVID-19 before a fellow citizen in greater need undermines what being an Olympian means to them.

"We really need the vaccine to get into the arms of the people who are most at risk, those in long-term care homes, those in the front lines," Canadian wrestler Erica Wiebe, the reigning Olympic champion in the 75 kg class, told Reuters.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has said vaccines against COVID-19 would not be made mandatory for athletes and team staff at the Games. It has also said it was against athletes skipping lines in their countries.

Some countries have already begun vaccinating athletes or plan to inoculate their Olympic delegations before the Games. Israel's Olympic Committee said on Wednesday it had already inoculated half its Olympic delegation and would complete the process by the end of May.

In Canada, racewalker Evan Dunfee worries that if athletes were to be given priority, it "would sour public opinion and just turn the community against us."