RIO DE JANEIRO, May 17 (Xinhua) -- Atletico Mineiro players will this week receive their first dose of COVID-19 vaccines donated by China's Sinovac Biotech, the Brazilian club said on Monday.
Atletico's coaching staff and other employees will also be inoculated during their visit to Paraguayan capital Asuncion for a Copa Libertadores group stage match against Cerro Porteno on Wednesday.
"[We] accepted the offer from the South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL) to vaccinate the squad that will be in Paraguay," read a statement on Atletico's official website.
It added that the vaccination program was approved by club doctor Rodrigo Lasmar and adhered to protocols established by the Brazilian Football Confederation.
In a press conference later on Monday, Atletico left-back Dodo said he hoped all Brazilians would have the opportunity to be vaccinated in the near term.
"Football is going through a difficult time with the pandemic, but the whole country is suffering," he said. "We hope that more vaccines arrive and that fans can return to stadiums soon."
Paraguay-based CONMEBOL said it received a shipment of 50,000 Sinovac vaccine doses in early May. According to officials, the doses will be administered to participants of the region's elite club competitions and the Copa America, to be played in Argentina and Colombia from June 13 to July 10.