Team USA is 100% vaccinated against COVID-19 headed into Beijing Olympics

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With COVID-19 surging across the United States and the rest of the globe, the U.S. Olympic team isn’t taking any chances headed into Beijing next month.

Every single athlete participating in next month's Winter Olympics is fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, the Olympic team’s top doctor, Jonathan Finnoff, told The Associated Press on Thursday.

“Vaccination is sort of the foundation for our COVID mitigation protocol,” he told the AP.

Finnoff said that education about the virus and the vaccine are the biggest reasons for the 100% vaccination rate among the approximately 240 athletes that will make up Team USA.

The United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee required that all U.S. athletes be fully vaccinated by Dec. 1 unless they had a medical exemption — something Finnoff said no athlete requested. About 100 American athletes who competed at the Summer Olympics in Tokyo last year were unvaccinated.

“You add the potential for COVID and we face the same reality as we did going into Tokyo, unsure what the starting lines will look like,” USOPC CEO Sarah Hirshland said, via The Associated Press. “But we’re not in a distinct situation from the rest of the world. We’re all facing the same challenges.”

As of Thursday night, the United States was averaging nearly 754,000 new coronavirus cases each day, according to The New York Times. That figure is down from a peak of more than 806,000 each day last week. Only about 63% of eligible Americans are fully vaccinated.

The Beijing Olympics will kick off Feb. 3.

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