Sergio Perez, Red Bull, Bahrain International Circuit, 2021

Sainz and Perez had Covid-19 vaccinations in Bahrain

2021 F1 season

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Carlos Sainz Jnr and Sergio Perez revealed they have taken advantage of the Bahrain government’s offer to provide Covid-19 vaccinations to F1 personnel visiting the country for testing and the season-opening race.

Formula 1’s extended stay in the Middle Eastern country leaves sufficient time for the two shots of vaccine to be administered.

“We got offered, I took the decision to take it,” said Perez, who missed two races last year after contracting Covid-19. “For me, back in Mexico, I don’t know when I will be able to get it.

“So I think it was very nice for Bahrain to offer it to us.”

Carlos Sainz Jnr, who has not previously tested positive for Covid-19, also had the vaccine while in Bahrain.

“It was a great opportunity and [I’m] obviously thankful for the Bahrain government for offering it to so many people that travel around the world,” said the Ferrari driver.

Lando Norris, who has recovered after contracting the virus in January, said he has not yet decided to accept the Bahraini offer

“For myself, I guess, it’s a decision yet to be made,” said Norris. “Obviously it’s private information with what everyone does within the team and for myself. But for now, I’m healthy.”

Bahrain announced its offer to vaccinate anyone associated with the race weekend before teams and driver began to arrive at the venue. At the time F1 said they did not plan to take up the offer.

“Formula 1, as a UK-based organisation, has no plans to be vaccinated as a travelling group ahead of the already established roll-out of vaccines through the health system in the UK,” an F1 spokesperson explained.

Six drivers and several other team personnel have contracted the virus since the pandemic began. Alfa Romeo team principal Frederic Vasseur is absent from this week’s test after testing positive for the virus.

Last month, F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali stated no one within the sport would ‘jump the queue’ for vaccinations. Most countries and regions are still in the early phases of distributing the vaccine to those who are most at risk from Covid-19.

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Josh Holland
USA-based Josh joined the RaceFans team in 2018. Josh helps produce our Formula 1 race weekend coverage, assists with our social media activities and...

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22 comments on “Sainz and Perez had Covid-19 vaccinations in Bahrain”

  1. A wise move by them. The rest should follow suit.

  2. What vaccine did they get?

    1. I believe Pfizer has the vaccine with the shortest interval between 2 doses (21 days). Moderna is 28 days and AstraZeneca is 12 weeks. My guess would thus be on Pfizer, but it would be nice to have a confirmation.

      1. @paeschli AstraZeneca can be done in 21 days; it’s just (somewhat) more effective if the 12-week delay is used.

        1. Somewhat? Efficacy for the AstraZeneca vaccine increases from ~50% to ~80% if you wait the 12 weeks.

      2. Your right, Bahrain offered all citizens and residents regardless of their origin the vaccine for free and they are allowed to choose between Pfizer, Sinopharm, AstraZeneca and Sputnik. The F1 personnel are offered Pfizer.

    2. Pfizer/BioNTech,

  3. I’m not sure of the ethics of taking a vaccine when you are 25-30 and even already had the disease. Worst case it could do nothing to you and missed by someone older and yet vulnerable.

    1. Uptake of the vaccine has been the slowest among the elderly… Bahrein wouldn’t offer surplus vaccines to travelers if there was real unmet demand for the vaccine among the elderly.
      I’m 26 and have been working from home since mid March, yet I’ve already received my first shot. All this talk of young healthy people ‘stealing’ vaccines from old people is nonsense.

      1. It depends what country you’re in. In the UK, it’s being done based on age and vulnerability so the idea of a celebrity jumping the queue isn’t viewed as a good thing. I wouldn’t be happy if they were prioritised over here but I have no problem with them going and having one in Bahrain whilst they are there – that’s their call.

        That’s the reason Norris clearly didn’t want to talk about it though – it would create negative headlines over here if it’s reported that 21 year old has had a vaccination ahead of someone much more likely to get severely ill if they caught Covid.

        1. @petebaldwin He more directly implied that he merely hasn’t made up his mind yet about either taking or not taking.

    2. They wouldn’t have the vaccine offered to them if the at-risk population weren’t already vaccinated. Bahrain has a rather small population (1.6 million) and has one of highest vaccination rates in the world, which indicates that the elderly and immunocompromised people have already received the vaccine and now the broader population is receiving it.

      If your job requires you to travel the world and be at 100% fitness for 9 months of the year, would you not take the opportunity to get yourself vaccinated, whenever it is offered to you?

    3. The ethics question is for the Bahraini officials towards their citizens, not for the drivers or staff. If the offer is made to you, you should take them up on it, I would.

    4. well… they travel all around the world and could spread the disease without knowing. I’m not sure it’s an unwise move…

      If people that move around are all vaccinated, i’m sure the infection rate would drop massively

    5. Bahrain has chosen to make the vaccine available to anyone over the age of 18 at this time, and recommending everyone who can take it should do so. There’s no queue for the F1 staff to jump, as far as the Bahrain authorities are concerned.

      The UK and EU are taking a more phased approach in terms of ages, so I would be unhappy if F1 people were taking it from those countries out of sequence. Different countries set their prioritisation methods differently, though, and accepting such an offer is fine by me. (Though I still respect Liberty’s approach of waiting for the UK vaccinations to come on stream).

      1. The phased vaccination approach seems to be primarily the result of limited supply and limited delivery capabilities. If a country or region has both in hand, restricting access should not be an issue.
        There is also a wider benefit to having global travelers vaccinated to avoid international spread.
        The Bahrain Govt. could just as easily have mandated that everyone entering the country get vaccinated or have a certificate prior to entry.
        Expectation is that this will become the “new normal” for anyone travelling across borders before too long.

  4. What if there were side-effects or even complications? Seems risky to do just before the season practice where you should be at 100%. Drivers sometimes do almost 2 race distances in one day, and is perhaps as tiring as anything the whole year.

    1. Much less risky than contracting Covid just before a race (ask Perez, Hamilton and Stroll)

      1. What? Even if vaccinated they can still return positive test, which means sitting out race(s), symptoms or not. Vaccine changes basically nothing – they still wear masks like dogs, they still can get infected, just with much lesser chance of suffering from covid.

        1. @armchairexpert What? I’ve never seen a dog wearing a face mask. I laugh enough when I see people who put those little jackets on them…

  5. For the Pfizer (and Moderna) vaccine, side effects are especially pronounced when the second shot is administered. So you could take a first shot upon arrival, and the second one after the race. For AstraZeneca’s it’s the reverse. So you can more or less schedule around the side effects, which only last 72h max usually (the first 24h being the worst).

  6. Bahrain were very efficient in spreading out the vaccine to their population, I can assure you guys there’s no ethical controversy in healthy 20 year olds getting it now in the country.
    What’s a bit surprising for me is that the article mentions Sainz had covid… isn’t it better to wait around 5 months after recovering to take the vaccine.
    Norris had it around December so it’s understandable (to me atleast) that he’s not keen on taking it now

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