In a recent interview with Jamaican newspaper The Gleaner, Olympic sprinting champion Yohan Blake said he will not be getting the COVID-19 vaccine. Blake said he would rather miss the Olympics than get the vaccine, although the International Olympic Committee, while encouraging athlete vaccination, has not made it mandatory for anyone looking to compete in Tokyo this summer.
— Yohan Blake (@YohanBlake) February 28, 2021
“My mind still stays strong, I don’t want any vaccine,” Blake said. “I don’t really want to get into it now, but I have my reasons.” Blake competed at the 2012 and 2016 Summer Games, and at 31 years old, it’s likely that Tokyo will be his last shot at the Olympics.
Blake has four Olympic medals to his name, with two gold (which he won in the 4 x 100m relay in 2012 and 2016) and two silver (which he won in the 100m and 200m in London in 2012). He has also won two world championship golds, which came in 2011 in the 100m and 4 x 100m. Behind fellow Jamaican Usain Bolt, Blake is the second-fastest sprinter in history in the 100m and 200m, with PBs of 9.69 and 19.26 seconds, respectively.
“Don’t let anyone take … choice from you,” Blake said in a video he tweeted on Saturday. “Follow your mind, don’t follow the crowd. At the same time, be respectful to each and every one.”
In life, you are what you think you are, not what people think you are. Don't follow the crowd. Have a mind of your own. Love and value yourself!
— Yohan Blake (@YohanBlake) February 27, 2021
The overwhelming scientific consensus is that the approved vaccines are safe, and millions of people worldwide have already received doses with no negative reaction. As The Gleaner reported, Jamaica is set to receive its first shipment of the COVID-19 vaccine next week.