Monday, March 20, 2023

Winter Olympics 2022: All 200-plus U.S. athletes vaccinated against COVID-19, per team doctor

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The entire U.S. Olympic team is fully vaccinated against COVID-19 ahead of February’s Beijing Winter Olympic Games, Chief Medical Officer Jonathan Finnoff said Thursday. Finnoff, Team USA’s top doctor, also said none of the 200-plus U.S. Olympians asked for a medical exemption. 

Team USA’s vaccination surge is significant considering, according to Finnoff’s estimations, around 100 of the 600-plus U.S. Olympians at last summer’s Tokyo Olympics weren’t vaccinated

“Vaccination is sort of the foundation of our COVID mitigation protocol,” Finnoff said.

Finnoff credits the International Olympic Committee’s mandatory 21-day quarantine period for unvaccinated athletes as a primary reason for Team USA’s rise in vaccinations. He also said the U.S. Olympic Committee and Paralympic Committee’s guidance regarding vaccines “really resonated with the athletes.” 

Team USA is expected to finalize its roster of nearly 240 athletes this week, per the AP. 

The AP also reported the USOPC has begun its testing and travel organization for the Winter Games, which begin Feb. 4. U.S. Olympians must produce two negative tests within 96 hours to make the trip to Beijing, one many will make via charter flights. 

While the entire U.S. Olympic team is fully vaccinated against COVID-19, it remains to be seen whether any Paralympians apply for medical exemptions with Paralympics qualifying yet to conclude. Finnoff said he hasn’t received any exemption requests from Paralympic hopefuls so far, though. 

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