Jamaican sprinter Yohan Blake said he would rather miss this summer’s Olympics games rather than take any COVID-19 vaccines.
The 31-year-old Olympic gold medalist made the comments on Saturday at the JAAA Qualification Meet at the National Stadium in Kingston. The event was one of the first athletic meets to be held in Jamaica in almost a year, because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
But despite being unable to compete and missing the track, Blake said that he’d rather miss the biggest athletic event of the year, than get vaccinated against the deadly virus.
“My mind still stays strong, I don’t want any vaccine, I rather to miss the Olympics than take the vaccine, I am not taking it,” said Blake to a Jamaica Gleaner reporter.
When asked his reason for being anti-vax, Blake said, “I don’t really want to get into it now, but I have my reasons.”
Yohan Blake, the 2011 world 100m champion is among a host of Jamaican athletes now gearing up to participate in this summer Olympic games that will begin on July 23rd in Japan.
The International Olympic Committee says athletes and officials will not be required to receive a Covid-19 vaccine in order to take part in this year’s Tokyo Games, but they are recommending it.
“This is to contribute to the safe environment of the Games, but also out of respect for the Japanese people, who should be confident that everything is being done to protect not only the participants, but also the Japanese people themselves,” organizers said.
Jamaica is set to receive its first shipment of COVID-19 vaccines this week. Healthcare workers, government officials, teachers and school staff, seniors and law enforcement officers will be the first to get the shot.
But the island’s Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr. Christopher Tufton said it won’t be an easy task as he noted that many Jamaicans have joined the “anti-vaccine movement”.
“In recent times, we’ve seen a re-emergence of the anti-vaccine lobby nationally and globally,” stated Tufton.
“They’re well-resourced, and they use alternative media to promote, in their view, what the negative effects of vaccination represent. I would only venture to say that it is ill-advised because the evidence supports the safety of vaccines that have been tested and proven, and they are endorsed by the World Health Organization,” added the health minister.