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Tully Kearney: Seven-time world champion “shocked” by wait for vaccine go-ahead

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Tully Kearney at the London 2019 World Para-swimming Championships
Tully Kearney won gold in the S5 50m, 100m and 200m Freestyle events at the 2019 World Para-swimming Championships in London

Great Britain’s seven-time world Para-swimming champion Tully Kearney fears she may have to choose between protecting herself from Covid-19 and competing at Tokyo 2020.

Kearney, who won three gold medals at the 2019 World Para-swimming Championships, said she is “shocked” athletes have not yet been told whether vaccines could breach doping rules.

UK Anti-Doping (Ukad) says the World Anti-Doping Agency is yet to confirm if vaccines contain banned constituents or could cause detection “complications”.

“I’m actually shocked being in the ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’ group and likely to be called for vaccination soon that this has not been dealt with sooner!” Kearney tweeted.external-link

“So do I risk potential serious illness/death from Covid or a doping ban and miss out on going to Tokyo?!”

The NHS has begun a mass vaccination campaign with a Pfizer-BioNTech jab that protects against Covid-19.

It has been found to be safe and effective by the UK medicines regulator and has been approved for mass use in over-16s, with the most vulnerable groups receiving it first.

In a statement on Thursday Ukad said it was “too early to make a definitive statement on any particular vaccine”.

However, it added Wada had confirmed it is “extremely unlikely” the vaccines would violate anti-doping regulations, with the risk posed to clean sport considered “small”.

Ukad added: “We await further updates from Wada on the matter before being able to advise athletes on the anti-doping status of any specific vaccine.”

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