PRESIDENT of the Caribbean Association of National Olympic Committees Brian Lewis is urging everyone in the Caribbean Olympic and Commonwealth Sports Movements to get vaccinated as in the new year mandatory vaccination will become the norm.

“Getting vaccinated is essential as the sport world seeks to come out of two years of covid19 lockdown and restrictions,” Lewis said in a media release.

Lewis, who is also the president of the TT Olympic Committee, said professional sport has survived the pandemic but lower level sport has suffered.

“The negative impact will be felt for generations to come. A lot of focus has been on professional sports and leagues that have had the financial resources to spend tens of millions of dollars behind covid19 countermeasures.

“A reality that is not the same for amateur sport, youth sport, school sport and the sport system in almost every CANOC member country.

“The sport ecosystem is in deep trouble as covid19 has decimated participation, motivation and interest.”

Lewis said 2022 will be a busy year for the Caribbean and the Commonwealth region.

“As we come to the end of another covid19 impacted year and look to a new year in the midst of yet another variant of covid19 (omicron), two significant events are on the horizon for the Caribbean Olympic and Commonwealth sports movements.

“The first Caribbean Games (will) to be held in Guadeloupe in June and the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham in July.”

Getting vaccinated will become a must, said Lewis.

“Covid19 countermeasures and an emphasis on safety and health protocols will be pragmatic priorities. CANOC is urging all stakeholders in the Caribbean Olympic and Commonwealth sports movements to be guided by science and medical advice (from) WHO (World Health Organization), PAHO (Pan American Health Organization) and CARPHA (Caribbean Public Health Agency) and the public health authorities. Getting vaccinated is essential.

“In 2022 mandatory vaccination will become the norm rather than the exception as Governments around the globe move to requiring full vaccination and booster shots as part of country entry requirements.”

Lewis is concerned about the economic and financial challenges caused by covid19 such as the cost of participation, events and covid19 countermeasures, safety and health protocols.