An agreement between the International Olympic Committee and the Pfizer vaccination developers will see doses donated to athletes that will compete at the delayed Tokyo Olympics.
Following talks between the IOC, the Japanese Government and Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE a Memorandum of Understanding has been signed which will give the Games a massive boost in its hopes of ensuring the Games do go ahead as planned this summer.
It has not yet been announced how many doses will be made available to athletes, but the IOC has insisted these will be in addition to “existing quotas and planned deliveries around the world.” Japan has had a very low vaccination rate and reports have shown that the majority of the Japanese public do not want the Games to go ahead this year whilst the pandemic is ongoing.
Vaccination has not been made mandatory by the IOC but expects the vast majority of competitors will have received their first dose by the time the Games commence, with the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) revealing that at least 60% of competing athletes will be fully vaccinated in time for the start of the Paralympics.
IOC President Thomas Bach said “This donation of the vaccine is another tool in our toolbox of measures to help make the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games safe and secure for all participants, and to show solidarity with our gracious Japanese hosts. We are inviting the athletes and participating delegations of the upcoming Olympic and Paralympic Games to lead by example and accept the vaccine where and when possible. By taking the vaccine, they can send a powerful message that vaccination is not only about personal health, but also about solidarity and consideration of the wellbeing of others in their communities. We would like to thank Pfizer and BioNTech for this very generous donation to support the vaccination of athletes and Games participants ahead of Tokyo 2020.”
Athletes and support personnel will be tested daily and everyone at the Games will be required to take two Covid-19 tests within 96 hours before they fly to Japan, athletes have been told to arrive no earlier than five days before their event and depart no later than two days after to limit the number of people at the Athletes' Village. With those who breach rules potentially being stripped of any right to compete.
You can read the IOC statement here.