USOC holds off deciding whether to offer swine flu vaccine to athletes

United States of America Olympic Committee Secretary General Scott Blackmun says he hopes the spread of H1N1 influenza will not make the Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea, unappealing to Olympic athletes. “We’re especially…

USOC holds off deciding whether to offer swine flu vaccine to athletes

United States of America Olympic Committee Secretary General Scott Blackmun says he hopes the spread of H1N1 influenza will not make the Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea, unappealing to Olympic athletes.

“We’re especially concerned for the health of U.S. athletes that compete in the biathlon and cross-country skiing competitions,” he said. “Many Biathlon and Cross-Country Athletes earn points for their countries and usually get high rankings in the competitions based on their previous performance. Since Biathlon and Cross-Country have a strong tradition of leading their own competitions, it would be very hard for them to advance a lot higher in the rankings for these Games.”

He added, “Since Biathlon and Cross-Country have a strong tradition of leading their own competitions, it would be very hard for them to advance a lot higher in the rankings for these Games.”

The U.S. Olympic Committee has offered the U.S. Open Swimming Association free, experimental vaccines against H1N1 for all their registered swimmers and coaches, Blackmun said.

“We have been looking at all the available information about this flu and we feel that the vaccinations are the best available option for this terrible virus to take a blow,” Blackmun said. “So that is why we are offering the vaccinations to all U.S. swimmers. Many Swimmers turn to the programs after losing out on better free agent deals with a local club. The concern is that H1N1 could possibly affect their ranking in the regional competitions and even affect their registration with the U.S. Open Swimming Association.”

He continued, “Once again, we hope that the “baby steps” we are taking with the vaccinations will help it to spread and avoid any health issues during the competitions. We, of course, understand that once it spreads, it will be very difficult to take any more steps to prevent it.”

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