JOA boss Samuda urges athletes to take ‘good’ COVID vaccines

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December 7, 2020

ROSE HALL, St James — President of the Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) Christopher Samuda is encouraging Jamaican athletes who are hoping to be part of the contingent to the Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan, to get vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus if the vaccination is “proven to be good”.

Samuda says it would be in the best interest of athletes to get all the information from their own personal doctors before any decision to take any vaccine. He added that the JOA is standing by ready to help athletes make the decision, as long as “they would not have any deleterious side effects”.

The JOA head was attending Wednesday’s media launch of the St James Parasports Federation at the Holiday Inn SunSpree Hotel in Rose Hall and told the Jamaica Observer he had seen professional opinions that say not everyone would have the same reaction to the vaccination.

Earlier this year Thomas Bach, president of the International Olympic Federation (IOC), said while there would be appeals from the IOC for athletes and others to be vaccinated as a “sign of respect” for other competitors and the Japanese hosts, said making it mandatory would be “going too far”.

Bach, who will be re-elected unopposed for a second term as IOC president, was quoted as saying: “There are too many issues to consider. This is a question of private health, it is a question also of [the] health conditions of each and every person. It’s a question of availability.”

On Wednesday, Samuda said that “in terms of medical information, we have conveyed to our member associations that we are governed, of course, by the IOC and also we have to reference the World Health Organization (WHO)”.

“ I would say to athletes that once a vaccination is proved to be fine and medically so, then they should do so in the interest of their own safety and also in the interest of their own family, particularly, if they have responsibility for the family,” said Samuda.

He added: “You should insulate yourself from risk and if it is proven that the vaccines are in fact good and they would not have any deleterious side effects, take it. So we are informing our athletes, prepare yourselves, condition yourselves, once the vaccines are available then you seek your medical opinions and then we are encouraging you to be vaccinated.”

When it was pointed out to the JOA boss that one study had said taking the vaccine could make the person very ill in the first instance and give them the full effect of having the coronavirus in their bodies, Samuda countered that position.

“I have heard a second opinion and a third opinion that disparages that opinion. What we are saying to athletes is that each person’s metabolism is different and therefore you have to seek medical advice from your own doctor,” he noted.

The JOA was ready, Samuda said, to assist the athletes in any and every way possible.

“Of course there will be a wealth of information that will be available to the athletes, to guide the athletes in terms of his or her ability to absorb that vaccine without any deleterious effect. We are saying explore that with your own medical doctor and we are here to lend assistance in terms of our own medical team and information, but at the end of the day, you have to take a decision,” he said.