U.S. Olympic Athlete Refuses COVID Vaccination Ahead of Tokyo Games

Michael Andrew, a favored U.S. swimmer, said this week that he will forego receiving a coronavirus vaccine before swimming in the Tokyo Olympics later this month.

Although more than 80% of participating athletes in the Tokyo Olympics have received the COVID vaccine, Andrew is concerned that the jab will have an adverse effect on his rigorous training routine.

“My reason behind it is I, for one, it was kind of a last moment, I didn’t want to put anything in my body that I didn’t know how I would potentially react to,” Andrew told reporters Thursday. “As an athlete on the elite level, everything we do is very calculated. For me in the training cycle, especially leading up to trials, I didn’t want to risk any days out, because we do know that there are periods where, getting the vaccine, you have to deal with some days off.”

“But as far as that goes, U.S.A. Swimming and all of us here have been through a very strict protocol with lots of testing, masks, socially distant, obviously staying away from the crowds, everything like that,” he continued. “And going into Tokyo, the same thing, with testing every day. So we feel very safe and protected, knowing that we’re minimizing risk as much as possible.”

Olympic competitors have the choice to forgo vaccines under existing guidelines, which also dictate that those who test positive for the virus will ultimately be eliminated.

The 22-year-old expressed confidence in his ability to stay healthy by adhering to the COVID regimen already established by the International Olympic Committee.

Due to an increase in coronavirus infections in Tokyo, his event will commence on July 23 with no spectators.

Andrew—who nearly had a record-breaking showcase at the Olympic trials—will start the games in Tokyo as the best individual medley and breaststroke swimmer for Team U.S.A. He will also compete in the freestyle.