Perez and Sainz take up Bahrain COVID-19 vaccination offer

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Sergio Perez and Carlos Sainz have revealed that they have accepted Bahrain's COVID-19 vaccination offer, with both drivers having received their first dose.

Bahrain which is currently implementing its national vaccine program has offered to administer to all F1-related visitors the two dose Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, which each dose administered 21 days apart.

The offer - which is voluntary - is part of the Persian Gulf state's plan to extend its vaccination program "to major events in the kingdom on a voluntary basis, where timescales allow and provide additional benefit to both participants and the national population".

However, Formula 1 declined the group offer as did most of the sports' teams, although individual members of staff - including drivers - were free to enter Bahrain's vaccination program.

Perez - who was sidelined from two races with Racing Point last summer after testing positive for the coronavirus - was happy to take up Bahrain's offer.

"Yeah, we got offered it, and I took the decision to take it," said the Mexican. "For me, back in Mexico, I don't know when I will be able to get it.

"So I think [it] was very nice from Bahrain to offer that to us. I took it myself."

And Sainz also got his first jab at Sakhir. "Same as Checo, I did take it," said the Ferrari charger.

"I think it was a great opportunity and obviously I'm thankful to the Bahrain government for offering it to so many people that travel around the world and, yeah, I'm happy with it."

McLaren's Lando Norris, who also contracted the virus earlier this year while on holiday in Dubai, has yet to make the call on when he will get vaccinated.

"It is obviously private information with what everyone does within a team and for myself," Norris said. "For now, I'm healthy and I'm staying where I am."

Overall, six drivers have so far tested positive for COVID-19, with Perez, Lance Stroll and Lewis Hamilton missing races last year, and Norris, Pierre Gasly and Charles Leclerc infected during the off-season.

Bahrain GP organisers have said that they will open Sakhir's gates to fans at the end of the month, but only if they are vaccinated for COVID-19 or have recovered from the coronavirus.

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