Olympics-Spanish athletes to receive vaccine before heading to Tokyo

FILE PHOTO: 2016 Rio Olympics - Basketball - Final - Men's Bronze Medal Game Australia v Spain - Carioca Arena 1 - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - 21/8/2016. Ricky Rubio (ESP) of Spain and Sergio Rodriguez (ESP) of Spain celebrate their victory over Australia. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

MADRID (Reuters) - All Spanish athletes competing at the Tokyo Olympics will be vaccinated against COVID-19 before travelling to Japan in July, the Ministry of Culture and Sport announced on Thursday.

The ministry said in a statement it had worked alongside the Ministry of Health as well as the Ministry of Defence plus the National Olympic Committee and sports council to ensure everyone in the delegation would be protected from the virus.

The Minister of Culture and Sport, Jose Manuel Rodriguez Uribes, told reporters vaccinating competitors was "a decision made by the entire country, as our athletes represent us".

Health Minister Carolina Darias said vaccinating athletes had become possible due to the success of the national vaccine roll out, which she said was on course to immunise 70% of citizens by the end of August.

Spain has joined a number of major nations in announcing athletes will receive vaccines before the rescheduled July 23-Aug. 8 Tokyo Games, including Australia, France and Canada.

(Reporting by Richard Martin; Editing by Ken Ferris)

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