Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador confirmed athletes will be in priority groups for vaccinations ©Getty Images

Mexico's President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has confirmed Olympic athletes will be among the priority groups to receive vaccinations against COVID-19 ahead of Tokyo 2020.

Mexico began its vaccination programme in December, with the country prioritising health workers.

Lopez Obrador provided an update on the country’s vaccination programme in Oaxaca, confirming that Mexico had received 870,000 AstraZeneca vaccines from India.

The Mexican President said he was hopeful that more than 15.7 million people over the age of in Mexico would have received the first dose by mid-April.

Lopez Obrador provided updates on the priority list for vaccinations, which includes athletes set to represent the country at the postponed Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

The Mexican President said vulnerable people in remote, marginalised municipalities, with the poorest population in the country, were among the top priorities.

"We are analysing very carefully about the priority groups for vaccination," said Lopez Obrador, who has recently recovered after contracting COVID-19.

"It was agreed that those who work in COVID hospitals are the first and nurses, doctors, and workers from these hospitals are already being treated.

"It has been agreed to serve the elderly for the reasons that I explained, because it is the most affected population, it is a vulnerable population against COVID, it is proven.

"Just as the demand of dentists and dentists is very legitimate, so we also have the need to vaccinate teachers to protect them and to return to face-to-face classes, because it is also very important.

"We also have, as a group to vaccinate first, the athletes who are going to represent us in the Olympic Games, we have to vaccinate all of them.

"And if the two doses are needed, and we have to do it also now, because it is close to the event."

Mexico began vaccinating people over the age of 60 on Monday ©Getty Images
Mexico began vaccinating people over the age of 60 on Monday ©Getty Images

Mexican Olympic Committee President Carlos Padilla Becerra had previously expressed hope that athletes would receive vaccines prior to Tokyo 2020.

Becerra had suggested athletes could be given doses in May and June, prior to the start of the Olympic Games on July 23.

Paralympic athletes are also expected to be included, with the Paralympic Games taking place from August 24 to September 5.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has repeatedly said it will not jump the queue ahead of those who need a vaccination most and has insisted it will not be mandatory for athletes to compete at the Games.

Playbooks released by the IOC and the International Paralympic Committee for stakeholders such as athletes have reiterated vaccines will not be mandatory for participants to attend Tokyo 2020, with measures such as frequent testing, masks and social distancing set to be in place instead.

Countries such as Lithuania, Hungary, Serbia and Israel are already in the process of vaccinating their Olympic and Paralympic delegations, however.

Other National Olympic Committees, including those in Germany, Canada, Britain and Italy, who have decided not to ask for their athletes to be given priority for vaccinations, will hope that vaccines will be available ahead of the Games.