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AOC awaits vaccine timeline as 100-day countdown to Tokyo begins

Pentathlete Edward Fernon, and canoe slalom athlete Jessica Fox mark the 100-day countdown to the 2021 Tokyo Olympic Games ambiguous

The 100-day countdown to the Tokyo Games has begun as the Australian Olympic Committee [AOC] awaits a timeline for when its 1400-strong cohort will receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

Australia is set to send one of its largest touring parties to the Games in July, with between 450-480 athletes expected to be selected to make the trip to Japan.

The AOC is confident its cohort of athletes, staff and officials will all be vaccinated against COVID-19 by the time they leave Australia, despite the nation's slow rollout of the jab.

The rescheduled Tokyo Games start on Jul. 23, with the AOC marking 100 days to go with Wednesday's announcement of live sites at Sydney's Circular Quay and other locations. AOC chief executive Matt Carroll said the vaccine is mandated for Australian officials and volunteers but not for athletes.

The AOC is in constant communication with the federal and state governments as crunch time to receive the jab approaches, with numerous athletes hoping to head overseas next month to fine tune their preparations.

"We're in discussion with Minister [Greg] Hunt's office on a weekly basis," Carroll said.

"We weren't expecting athletes or officials to be vaccinated at this time, so we're not frustrated.

"Crunch time starts to hit next month because athletes will start to go overseas. The government is well aware of that.

"We're working with the government as to how their programs roll out, where they'll classify athletes and officials. We're quite confident.

"[The vaccine] is very important... in terms of looking after the health and wellbeing of athletes, and also giving them the confidence they've been vaccinated is very important to their performance."

Dual-Olympian Jessica Fox is hoping to receive the vaccine to help ease concerns about traveling to Europe for the canoe slalom World Cup.

The first two events are scheduled for June and double as an opportunity for Fox, who won silver at the London Olympics, to intensify her preparations on the world stage after being based in Australia amid the global pandemic.

"I would like to get the vaccine and it would definitely make going overseas for the World Cups feel less dangerous, scary and uncertain," Fox told ESPN.

"Whether that happens or not, we're just waiting on the AOC and going off their medical advice, and what the government is advising.

"I have no idea in regards to a timeline, but I know the AOC will keep us informed. [They've] been really good at keeping us informed of anything to do with Tokyo in the lead up."

Fox is looking forward to the trans-Tasman travel bubble beginning next week, with the 26-year-old slalom canoeist planning to head to New Zealand for a training camp later this month.

However Fox admits she's not attached to her plans due to the ongoing changes to border and travel restrictions, saying the only certain thing between now and Tokyo is a lot of hard training.

"There's so many plans for between now and Tokyo, there's a Plan A to a Plan F. I haven't let myself get too attached to any plan because I know they can change so quickly," Fox said.

"Hopefully I can get to New Zealand at the end of the month for a training camp and then after that is a bit uncertain, whether we go to Europe for the World Cup events or stay in Australia then head to Tokyo for the pre-Games training camp in early July.

"The only thing that's certain is that there's a lot of hard training. The details are uncertain of who, what, where and why.

"I just have to trust myself and my preparation, and know I'm very experienced as an athlete and that's going to help me. I still have passion and excitement for a third Olympics, and I'll do my best when I get there."