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Sports Medicine Docs: Olympics' 'Logistical Nightmare' Mixes Testing, Tracing, Varied Vaccination Statuses

Medscape features a conversation with HSS experts Scott A. Rodeo, MD, sports medicine surgeon and Lisa R. Callahan, MD, sports medicine physician, about the challenges that athletes and medical professionals are facing during the Olympic games.

Dr. Callahan explained the importance of being vaccinated against COVID-19, but when that’s not possible, “it will be important for those at the Olympics to remember the mitigation strategies that have proven important in prevention,” she advised.

On the importance of a COVID-19 vaccine, “The truth is, the risk for serious illness from COVID is so much greater than the risk for serious side effects from a vaccine. That to me is the take-home message for all the athletes,” noted Dr. Callahan.

Dr. Rodeo agreed, “We need to continue to follow the data. And luckily, there's a huge international effort to accumulate more data. I think that you made the two important points. Number one, first, these risks — the side effects of the blood clots in females and myocarditis in men — although concerning, they're uncommon. In fact, there's still some question as to whether they're even higher than the normal rate you'd expect from any other vaccine or just in the underlying population. Number two, all that said and all that aside, the risk for illness from COVID is much higher than the risk for these side effects.”

Dr. Callahan praised the efforts of those on-site managing the safety and logistics for the athletes. She continued, “I think we have learned, as you said, the more testing, the better, and really on a daily basis is probably your best way to go, because we know you can be infectious and be in the presymptomatic or asymptomatic phase. So that's the tremendous value in daily testing and PCR being the gold standard.”

Read the full article at Medscape.com.