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U.S. Olympic athletes respond to fierce criticism after it is revealed that they are unvaccinated: 'It's one hundred percent a personal choice'
Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images

U.S. Olympic athletes respond to fierce criticism after it is revealed that they are unvaccinated: 'It's one hundred percent a personal choice'

After it was revealed that a number of U.S. Olympic athletes were competing at the games without being vaccinated, they faced fierce criticism online, which led several of them to fire back in defense of their choice not to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

The furor began several weeks ago with swimmer Michael Andrew, who declared earlier in July that he would not receive the COVID-19 vaccine because he had already tested positive for COVID and recovered. Andrew was fiercely criticized for the decision, but defended his decision, saying, "So my thought pattern is kind of like, if I've already got it, there's not as much health risk for me."

He also indicated that he had concerns about putting something in his body during training, and was concerned about potentially missing training days due to side effects from the vaccine.

Andrew is widely expected to compete for gold medals at the Tokyo Games, and has stated that he is not anti-vaccine in general. The coach of the U.S. men's swimming team has stated that Andrew has been fully compliant with health and safety protocols in Tokyo, but he continues to receive harsh public criticism for his stance.

Now, two members of the Olympic archery team, including world No. 1 Brady Ellison, are also publicly defending their right to refuse the vaccine.

"It's one hundred percent a personal choice, and anyone that says otherwise is taking away people's freedoms," said Ellison, according to Reuters. "I said if they made it mandatory that I wouldn't come." Ellison also noted that both he and his wife had already had COVID-19 and successfully recovered from it.

Female U.S. archer Mackenzie Brown also indicated that she had not received the vaccine, stating, "Getting a shot is something there hasn't been enough testing in. I would have opted out for the Games if I had to get the vaccine as well."

Both archers also indicated that they would comply with the Olympic team's health and safety protocols, including wearing a mask on the field and submitting to daily tests for COVID-19.

The U.S. Olympic Team's chief medical officer indicated to Reuters that 83% of the team's 600 athletes have been fully vaccinated, but that the entire delegation will be treated as unvaccinated for the purposes of health and safety protocol rules, out of an abundance of caution.

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