IOC strikes COVID-19 vaccination deal with Pfizer for Tokyo 2020 athletes
The developers of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine are set to donate doses to athletes heading to the delayed Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games after signing an agreement with the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE has penned a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the IOC following talks with the organisation and the Japanese Government.
Under the terms of the agreement, which represents a boost to the chances of the Games going ahead in their rescheduled slot, National Olympic Committees will be tasked with coordinating distribution with their respective Governments "in accordance with each country’s vaccination guidelines and consistent with local regulations".
It is not yet clear how many doses will be offered, but the IOC insisted they will be in addition to "existing quotas and planned deliveries around the world".
Japan, whose low vaccination rate has raised concerns over the fate of the Olympics and Paralympics, is among the countries to have bought doses of the Pfizer jab.
The announcement comes as the IOC and organisers struggle to convince a sceptical Japanese public that the Games should take place despite the pandemic.
The IOC has said vaccination will not be mandatory for athletes to compete at Tokyo 2020 but expects a "significant number" of participants will have received the jab before the Games.
The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) revealed last week that at least 60 per cent of athletes will be fully vaccinated in time for the event.
The Chinese Olympic Committee has also offered to vaccinate Tokyo 2020 and Beijing 2022 teams, with the IOC paying for the cost of each dose.