Auckland: New Zealand cricketers, Olympians, and Paralympians may get early vaccinations after the government announced eligibility criteria on Wednesday.
New Zealand's Covid-19 response minister Chris Hipkins has laid out that all those athletes who are representing New Zealand in large sporting events, like playing Olympics or representing BlackCaps, may be eligible for getting early jabs. The application process for vaccination begins on March 31, and it will all boil down to New Zealand Cricket (NZC) and the New Zealand Olympic Committee applying for early vaccinations.
"The key yardstick here is people travelling in an official capacity and ensuring their participation is in our national interest. We also expect these requests will need to be made by the appropriate agency or association on behalf of the individual, not by the individuals themselves. The final consideration is the level of risk travellers will be exposed to in the destination country," stuff.co.nz quoted Hipkins as saying.
"They will have to make an application and it will depend on what sort of events they are participating in, to whether they fit the national interest criteria. But certainly, your expectation is that the Olympians would be eligible under the national interest criteria and a national sports team participating in a significant event would also meet those criteria," he added.
Further talking about vaccination of athletes, Hipkins said: "My understanding is that we are talking about a few hundred potential athletes and sportspeople who might fit the category, so it is not a large group but, certainly, where the national significance criteria are met, then yes they would be able to."
New Zealand is slated to play two tests against England in June this year. Then the side would play the ICC World Test Championship final against India at the Rose Bowl in Southampton from June 18 to 22.
On the other hand, the Tokyo Olympics is scheduled to take place from July 23 to August 8.