By Alan Baldwin
(Reuters) - Most Ferrari Formula One team members have taken up Bahrain's offer of COVID-19 vaccinations ahead of testing and this month's season-opener, despite the sport's stated reluctance to jump any queues.
The Gazzetta dello Sport newspaper reported on Wednesday that 90% of Ferrari staff travelling to Bahrain had accepted the offer of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine on arrival after health authorities in Italy raised no objections.
There was no official comment from the Italian team.
Champions Mercedes did not comment on their employees and said it was a private matter for individuals. Sources at other teams took a similar approach.
Mercedes F1 boss Toto Wolff, who has had the virus, told German reporters last week the team was neutral on the subject.
"It is a personal decision who would like to be vaccinated and who would not and not a decision that we make as a team, in one direction or the other," said the Austrian.
Italy has registered more than 100,000 deaths linked to COVID-19 since February last year, the second-highest toll in Europe after Britain, and the country's vaccination campaign has started slowly.
Bahrain GP organisers last month offered jabs to all participants ahead of this weekend's testing, with a second dose delivered after the March 28 race.
British-based Formula One at the time ruled out being vaccinated as a travelling group and chief executive Stefano Domenicali told reporters the most vulnerable in society remained the priority.
"We need to be prudent and see and respect what is the situation with the more vulnerable people and we don't want to be seen as the ones taking away for sure," added the Italian.
(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Christian Radnedge)