Olympics-Brazil to start vaccinating athletes, staff headed to Tokyo Games

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FILE PHOTO: The headquarter of the Brazilian Olympic Committee is seen in Rio de Janeiro

(Reuters) - Brazilian athletes and staff travelling to Tokyo for the Olympics will receive COVID-19 vaccines with the first doses set to be administered on Friday, the Brazilian Olympic Committee (COB) has said.

The COB said they are looking to administer the second dose by June 21 -- two weeks before the start of the July 23-Aug. 8 Games. Paralympic participants will also get their shots before the Games begin on Aug. 24.

Around 1,800 people are set to be vaccinated across six cities, with COB vice-president Head of Mission Marco Antonio La Porta saying the Brazilian population would receive two doses for every person on the delegation who is vaccinated.

"This is a great contribution from the Olympic Movement at this very difficult time that the world is facing," La Porta told reporters.

"Even without the vaccine being mandatory for participation in the Games, there is no doubt that we will feel safer to represent Brazil in the Olympic Games."

Health Minister Marcelo Queiroga said they would be using either the Pfizer or the Sinovac shots.

Brazil has recorded the second-deadliest COVID-19 outbreak in the world and continues to average more than 2,000 deaths per day. More than 425,000 people have died from COVID-19 since the pandemic began, according to the Health Ministry.

On Tuesday, the Health Ministry announced it had signed a deal for Pfizer to deliver an additional 100 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine, doubling the number of shots from the company.

(Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Radnedge)