• Chishimba Bwalya

COVID19 jab safe, NOCZ assures athletes


President Foloko receiving his vaccination at National Heroes Stadium. PICTURE: Noah Silomba

Zambian athletes should have nothing to worry about concerning the coronavirus vaccine as the batch has been declared safe by government and international health authorities, National Olympics Committee of Zambia (NOCZ) has said.


Speaking in an interview on Tuesday morning as he led athletes for the vaccination, NOCZ President Alfred Foloko said he had been assured by relevant stakeholders of the safety of the Astrazeneca vaccine that was being administered.


“I can assure the athletes that the message we have received from the World Health Organisation and from our government through President Edgar Chagwa Lungu is that it is safe and I urge the athletes to take it.”


He called on athletes throughout the country not to shy away but consider going for the vaccine which is being administered voluntary at various facilities.


“It’s not mandatory to get the vaccine, however, it will be imperative that athletes who are going for the games get the vaccine for their own safety and others,”

And at the same venue Ministry of Sport Permanent Secretary Dr John Phiri, in the company of Director of Sports Dr John Zulu and Mr Foloko led Olympics-bound athletes to a vaccination exercise at National Heroes Stadium.


Three athletes from boxing; Stephen Zimba, Patrick Chinyemba and Evaristo Mulenga as well as the Zambia women’s football team were some of those that got the vaccine with only the exception of Zambia Athletics whose women’s team has travelled to Poland.


Dr Phiri urged the athletes to take the vaccination for their safety from coronavirus.


“I am simply here to encourage you to take the vaccine, personally I look forward to taking a jab,” he said before being vaccinated, “you need to take it for your own protection.”


The exercise will be done in two phases with some athletes being vaccinated in Lusaka while others will get their dose on the Copperbelt Province.


Meanwhile, Mr Foloko revealed that NOCZ through its technical committee has intensified preparations for the Olympics which are now only three months away.


He said although there had been challenges faced due to last minute cancellations as a result of COVID19, NOCZ worked extremely well to ensure that athletes had a good preparation for the games.


Boxer; Stephen Chinyemba receiving his jab. PICTURE; Noah Silomba


The women's football team after getting their vaccination. PICTURE: Noah Silomba