Para-swimming champion Tully Kearney ‘shocked’ as she is yet to be told if Covid-19 vaccine could breach doping rules

Kearney is unsure if she takes the vaccine she will be breaching doping rules
Kearney is unsure if she takes the vaccine she will be breaching doping rules (PA)
12:54pm, Fri 11 Dec 2020
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Seven-time para-swimming champion Tully Kearney has spoken of her concern that having the Covid-19 vaccine could breach doping rules.

Kearney, who was born with cerebral palsy and is in the coronavirus ‘vulnerable group’, is ‘shocked’ that she and other para-athletes may have to risk getting Covid-19 in order to realise their Paralympic dreams.

The 23 year-old tweeted: "I’m actually shocked being in the ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’ group and likely to be called for [the Pzier-BioNTech] vaccination soon that this has not been dealt with sooner! 

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

UK Anti-Doping updated athletes on the issue yesterday but they couldn’t give them a ‘definitive’ answer.

They said: “We are in regular contact with WADA to obtain progress updates. Whilst it is too early to make a definitive statement on any particular vaccine, WADA has already confirmed that it is extremely unlikely that the RNA- or DNA sequences used for such vaccines violate anti-doping regulations. 

"Equally, the risk that the excipients used for such vaccines will pose issues for clean sport and the anti-doping regulations is anticipated to be small. 

"We await further updates from WADA on the matter before being able to advise athletes on the anti-doping status of any specific vaccine.”

The Tokyo Games will be the first for Kearney. She was selected to go to the 2016 Paralympics but she was forced to withdraw after ‘significant progression’ on her Generalised Dystonia and she also had a shoulder injury.

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