Athletes won't be forced to get COVID-19 vaccine ahead of Tokyo Olympics: Thomas Bach

WION Web Team
New Delhi, India Updated: Nov 17, 2020, 08:40 PM(IST)

Thomas Bach, President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC). Photograph:( Reuters )

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International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach on Tuesday said that athletes won’t be forced to get COVID-19 vaccinations ahead of the upcoming Tokyo Olympics but added that they should have it as a “demonstration of solidarity” with the Japanese. 

International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach on Tuesday said that athletes won’t be forced to get COVID-19 vaccinations ahead of the upcoming Tokyo Olympics but added that they should have it as a “demonstration of solidarity” with the Japanese. 

Bach visited the Athletes’ Village on Tuesday before concluding his two-day Tokyo visit to the National Stadium. 

“We will encourage athletes that whenever possible they have the vaccination because it is better for their health, and it is also a demonstration of solidarity with their fellow athletes and also the Japanese people,” said the German.

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Bach, who was in his first trip to Japan since the decision to postpone the Tokyo Games in March, has spoken about the major impact a vaccine could have on the prospects of Tokyo hosting the Olympics in 2021.

More than 11,000 athletes are expected to land in Tokyo for the Games, which are scheduled to commence from July 23 with around thousands expected for the subsequent Paralympics.

However, when asked whether athletes would queue up to get the potential vaccine before the Tokyo Olympics, Bach sounded confident that this wouldn’t be the case. 

“We made it clear from the very beginning that the first priorities are for the nurses, medical doctors and everybody who keeps our society alive, despite the coronavirus crisis,” Bach told reporters at the National Stadium.

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“These are the people who deserve to be the first ones to be vaccinated.”

Tokyo 2020 organisers are conducting a project review meeting this week while hoping on deciding on a range of COVID-19 measures, including whether the mega event will allow fans in venues in 2021.

A small group of anti-Olympics protesters gathered outside the stadium during Bach’s visit while chanting slogans as he walked alone down the track and looked up at the glaring empty seats around him.

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