BOA To Institute Mandatory Vaccines for All Accredited Games Participants

The Board of Directors of The Barbados Olympic Association Inc. (BOA) has deliberated and  given the recent restrictions and challenges faced in attending regional and international  competitions, has decided to implement a mandatory Covid-19 vaccine policy as a condition of  participation in Games for all accredited persons. Exempted from this policy are Government  Officials and persons exempted for medical or religious reasons. The policy, therefore, requires  all accredited participants to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19, and the BOA will be guided by  the Ministry of Health and Wellness as to the definition of a fully vaccinated person as determined  from time to time.

Reasons for the Decision

Several factors were considered in making the decision. Firstly, participation in some Games  requires Team Barbados to transit through the US, which has legislated that all foreign travellers  entering the US must be fully vaccinated. In addition, the United States Olympic and Paralympic  Committee recently made vaccines mandatory for participation in all Games and the use of their  training centres, etc. The Canadian Olympic Committee too has made vaccines mandatory for  participation in Beijing 2022. While vaccines are not required for Beijing 2022, unvaccinated  participants must quarantine for 21 days. At the recently concluded Junior Panam Games 2021

In Cali Colombia, all delegations were required to be fully vaccinated. For information, vaccines  are not currently mandatory for the next Commonwealth Games in Birmingham in 2022, and  based on the current policy for these Games, there will be no additional screening of unvaccinated  participants. Therefore, Team Barbados will, as was the case for Tokyo 2020, participate  alongside vaccinated and unvaccinated persons.

Secondly, the policy is part of a strategy to mitigate the risks associated with taking a team to  various Games. Another integral part of this strategy is securing insurance for the Team against  injury, death, loss, and damage while participating in Games. From 2021 the BOA secured  additional cover in the form of Covid insurance at a substantial cost. The BOA assumes full  responsibility for Team Barbados and could incur additional charges, over and above the  insurance, if a team member tests positive.

Finally, the emergence of multiple variants of Covid-19 suggests that everyone involved in Sport  will be required to adapt to the new norm of living with Covid-19 for the foreseeable future.

Board Commitment and Policy

Most sports require Athletes to abandon established Covid-19 protocols such as the wearing of masks while competing, and in some cases, to be in very close physical contact in enclosed spaces. The Board’s view is that while being vaccinated does not guarantee that a person will  not become infected with the virus, available evidence suggests that vaccinations provide an  additional layer of protection, and unvaccinated individuals may suffer more severe symptoms if  infected. The BOA is committed to creating a safe environment as far as possible for Team  Barbados when travelling and competing overseas and believes a fully vaccinated team will  contribute to this.

The policy will take effect from January 1, 2022, giving potential participants ample opportunity to  comply.

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