Pfizer and BioNTech will donate doses of their Coronavirus vaccines to participants at this summer’s Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) said on Thursday.
It said a memorandum of understanding had been signed and the national ocal Olympic committees will work on the distribution of the vaccine with their local governments to ensure consistency with domestic vaccination guidelines.
The IOC and Japanese organisers aim to hold the games postponed from 2020 in spite of the pandemic.
However, between 70 and 80 per cent of Japanese believe the games will be postponed again or cancelled.
Foreign fans will not be allowed and strict health regulations are to apply, although vaccination is not mandatory.
The IOC said however that it expected a significant proportion of participants to be vaccinated before the games.
“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.,’’ IOC President, Thomas Bach, said.
Bach added that by taking the vaccine, they could send a powerful message that vaccination was not only about personal health, but also about solidarity and consideration of the well-being of others in their communities.
Two months ago the IOC announced that it was to receive a donation of Chinese vaccines from the Chinese Olympic Committee.