Tokyo Olympics 2020: Pfizer and BioNTech to provide COVID-19 vaccines for athletes

WION Web Team
New Delhi, India Published: May 06, 2021, 04:21 PM(IST)

Tokyo Olympics (file photo) Photograph:( AFP )

Story highlights

Pfizer and BioNTech are set to supply vaccines as early as the end of May and the move will allow athletes and delegations to complete the vaccinations process by the opening of the Tokyo Olympics in late July.

US drugmaker Pfizer and German company BioNTech on Monday announced the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to donate doses of their COVID-19 vaccine in a bid to inoculate athletes and delegations bound for the Tokyo Olympics.

Pfizer and BioNTech are set to supply vaccines as early as the end of May and the move will allow athletes and delegations to complete the vaccinations process by the opening of the Tokyo Olympics in late July.

The International Olympic Committee is likely to discuss the matter with national Olympic committees across the world and provide vaccines as needed. Notably, the states decided whether to offer immunisation to athletes and delegations in accordance with local guidance before they can fly to Japan for the quadrennial event.

However, the IOC and the International Paralympics Committee have said that vaccination is not compulsory for athletes and the process should be conducted in full respect of national vaccination priorities.

"This donation of the vaccine is another tool in our toolbox of measures to help make the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 safe and secure for all participants, and to show solidarity with our gracious Japanese hosts," IOC President Thomas Bach said in a statement. "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."

ALSO READ: 'Don't watch' - fans warned off Tokyo Olympics marathon test

Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said in a statement: "The return of the Olympic and Paralympic Games represents a monumental moment of world unity and peace after a grueling year of isolation and devastation. We are proud to play a role in providing vaccines to athletes and national Olympic delegations."

More than 430 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine have been shipped to 91 countries and territories. The two companies are expected to produce 2.5 billion doses in 2021 and 3 billion doses in 2022. The donation to Olympic athletes will not affect the global vaccine supply, the companies said.

ALSO READ: Investigation finds culture of abuse in Australian gymnastics

Notably, the Japanese government has penned a contract with Pfizer for around 144 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine this year.

 

Read in App