New Zealand surfer Ella Williams has received her first Covid-19 vaccination despite previously expressing concerns over the jab.
Williams, who is set to compete at the Tokyo Olympics later this year, told media of her hesitancy to receive the vaccine earlier this month and said she believed it required serious consideration for elite athletes.
But taking to Facebook today, Williams shared a photo of her smiling and holding a vaccine record card after receiving her first dose.
"So grateful and privileged to be able to receive my first Covid-19 vaccination," she wrote. "Looking forward to the rest of New Zealand being able to receive the vaccine."
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Athletes participating in Olympic build-up events have been receiving their first doses of the Pfizer vaccine, while those remaining in Aotearoa a little longer will be eligible to receive theirs over the coming month.
The New Zealand Olympic Committee has said it will do its best to send a fully-vaccinated team to Tokyo, despite vaccination not being a mandatory requirement for athletes.
"We will be encouraging all members of the New Zealand team to be vaccinated where possible and will work through the details over the coming months," an NZOC spokesperson said.
"NZOC would like all athletes to be vaccinated, though won't make it compulsory – [we're] yet to have anyone openly say they won't be vaccinated."
Sports medicine professor Dr Dave Gerrard, who was New Zealand team doctor at the 1984 and 1988 Olympic Games, wants Kiwi athletes who refuse vaccination kicked out of the New Zealand Olympics team altogether.
"If you don't want the vaccine then you give up your place in the Olympic team," Gerrard said.
"I think in fairness to your teammates, in terms of the security and the unequivocal evidence that the vaccine is going to protect you and prevent you from spreading the infection; should you pick it up while you're away and you return home."