Philippines starts vaccinating Olympic athletes

Coronavirus vaccinations have begun in the Philippines for athletes and staff taking part in the Tokyo Olympics.

About 500 people received their shots at a hotel in the capital Manila on Friday. A vaccine developed by China's Sinovac Biotech was used.

Among them was a 21-year-old rower, Chris Nievarez. He will compete in the men's single scull -- the first Filipino to do so in 21 years.

Nievarez said he was relieved to get a jab, and will now be able to concentrate on his training.

Athletes and officials participating in the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics are being given priority for coronavirus vaccinations by the Philippine government.

The priority list also includes healthcare and other essential workers, as well as athletes and staff who will take part in an international sports event in Vietnam in November.

The Philippine Olympic Committee says nine athletes, including Nievarez, have already secured spots for the Tokyo Olympics. It says two of them have been vaccinated in the United States and another country.