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Workers, volunteers vaccinated for Tokyo Olympic Games

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THE Tokyo Metropolitan Government has started coronavirus vaccinations for staff and media members who will work at this summer’s Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics.

  The metropolitan government, which set up a vaccination center at its main building in the capital, aims to inoculate around 2,500 people per day through the end of August using Pfizer Inc. vaccine doses provided by the International Olympic Committee.

  With just over a month until the July 23 opening ceremony, organisers are in the home stretch and scrambling to finalise virus rules and get participants vaccinated in time.

  They also face a controversial and difficult decision over how many domestic fans, if any, will be in the stands for the pandemic-postponed Games.

  Japanese Olympic athletes have already begun receiving vaccines, and the rollout expanded on Friday to Olympic staff, volunteers and others who will interact with overseas participants.

  The International Olympic Committee has donated enough Pfizer/BioNTech doses for 40,000 people, including airport staff, local media and Olympic referees.

  Chika Hirai, director of doping control for Tokyo 2020, was among those being vaccinated on Friday and said she had some niggling concerns about virus risks before getting jabbed.

 “Now that I will be vaccinated, I will feel a little more reassured doing my job,” she told reporters.

  “Many people from abroad, including inspectors from my field, are coming to Japan after having been vaccinated themselves. I feel more relieved that we also won’t be the source of the virus spread.”

  The jabs are separate from those being used in Japan’s national vaccine rollout, which began slowly but has picked up pace lately, with over six per cent of the population now fully inoculated.

  The vaccinations come as organisers work to convince a sceptical public that the biggest international event since the pandemic began will be safe.

  This week, they have rolled out new virus rulebooks, warning athletes they could be barred from the Games if they violate regulations on mask-wearing or daily testing

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