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4 Oct, 2021 14:43

‘Russian vaccines are acceptable’: Athletes who get Covid jab will be allowed not to quarantine at Winter Olympics, organizers say

‘Russian vaccines are acceptable’: Athletes who get Covid jab will be allowed not to quarantine at Winter Olympics, organizers say

Russian athletes will be able to avoid quarantining at the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing if they have received one of the four vaccines developed in the country, the organizing committee has confirmed.

Under International Olympic Committee recommendations unveiled last week, athletes who travel to the Games unvaccinated will be required to quarantine for 21 days before joining the 'Olympic Perimeter' bubble.

Competitors who have received jabs that have been approved by the World Health Organization (WHO), national or regional authorities will be able to avoid a total lockdown by skipping that predicament, the governing body has reportedly said.

"All vaccines recognized by the World Health Organization, relevant international organizations, as well as officially approved by countries or regions, will be accepted," the IOC has declared, according to Tass. "So Russian vaccines are acceptable."

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That means the Sputnik V, Sputnik Light, Epivakkoron and Kovivak treatments will be accepted, potentially encouraging athletes who have not received the jabs to take them if they want to dodge what is likely to prove a draining confinement period for quarantined stars.

Sputnik V, which is widely used in Russia and has been deployed in more than 60 countries, was the first Covid vaccine to be registered for use in any nation.

The WHO voiced concerns about the filling of vials at one plant responsible for producing the treatment in June, although the company behind it, Pharmstandard-UfaVITA, said that the issue did not relate to efficacy or safety and invited officials to visit the facility again.

Any 'obstacles preventing the certification' of the vaccine were said to have been removed after a meeting between the Russian Health Minister, Mikhail Murashko, and WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom last week.

“All barriers have been lifted as of today," Murashko told reporters at a subsequent briefing in Geneva.

"We do not see any obstacles for continuing our work. This was confirmed by the WHO director general.

“The position of the Russian Federation on promoting and registering the Russian Sputnik V vaccine was heard. We have completely resolved all issues to date."

The two-dose vaccine uses a weakened version of the virus and is considered to be 100% effective against severe disease caused by Covid.

Clinical trial results have shown the efficacy of the vaccine to be 91.6%, rising to 97.6% based on results data from 3.8 million people vaccinated in Russia.

The Winter Olympic Games will be held from 4 to 20 February 2022, with the 'bubble' for athletes opening in January.

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