Team U.S.A. swimmer Michael Andrew confirmed he would not be immunized against the deadly disease just weeks before the Olympics.
Andrew will compete in the 100-meter breaststroke, 200-meter individual medley, and 50-meter freestyle in his first Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan. He decided against being vaccinated against the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Virus in the month between trials and the Olympics.
“It was [decided] in the last moment,” he told reporters at the team’s Hawaiian training camp according to Reuters.
The 22-year-old revealed his young age and potential adverse side-effects were factors behind his “very calculated” medical decision.
“I did not want to put anything in my body that I did not know how I would potentially react to,” he said. “I did not want to risk any days out because there are periods where, if you take the vaccine, you have to deal with some days off.”
The U.S. swimming team indicated it would not force Andrew to accept the jab.
“We are being very conscious, being very safe with how we are handling our teams, how we are going from place to place, how we are operating in our training camp environment, [and] how we are effectively bubbling ourselves,” men’s coach Dave Durden said according to the Washington Post. “That is probably the more important piece of this–regardless of vaccinations or not vaccinated, it is what our attitudes and actions are.”
After considering the full implications of his decision, Andrew later clarified that he would not be vaccinated in the “distant future.” BL understands he may be open to being immunized at a later date.
Although vaccines are not mandatory for Olympic competitors to fly into Tokyo, Japan announced a state of emergency due to a jump in CCP Virus infections. Games organizers responded by prohibiting spectators from attending events between July 23 and Aug. 8.
Andrew has agreed to follow all pandemic protocols while in Tokyo.
“All of us here have been through very strict protocols, with lots of testing, masks, socially distant, staying away from crowds–everything like that,” he said according to the paper. “We feel very safe and protected, knowing that we are minimizing risk as much as possible but, personally, I have not had the vaccine yet and do not plan on it in the distant future.”
The swimmer won the 100-meter breaststroke at the U.S. Olympic Trials during June.