Pharmaceutical giants Pfizer have decided to donate vaccines along with BioNTech to all the athletes that are taking part in 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has signed a memorandum of understanding with both pharmaceutical companies.
The IOC didn’t mention the exact figures of doses that are going to distributed but under the agreement, the company has decided to donate the vaccines to athletes, officials, and stakeholders in their home countries before they travel to Japan for the Olympics.
It’s also said that this is being done to ensure safe and “secure Olympics and Paralympic games” and “out of respect for the residents of Japan”. Due to the rising cases of COVID-19 in Japan, there was an online petition which wanted the Games to be cancelled and it revived nearly 155,000 in just a week after it was created. According to a survey done by reputed Japanese news called ‘Kyodo News’, it was found that 72 percent of the Japanese citizens wanted the Olympic Games to be scrapped or delayed in the country.
The cancellation of the games looks highly unlikely as the organisers dismiss concerns despite the fact that an emergency was declared in some of the states in the country due to Coronavirus.
IOC president Thomas Bach said, ”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. 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.”
IOC has also added that National Olympic and Paralympic committees will work with the local government bodies and would help in vaccine distribution following specified guidelines of each country.
Athletes participating in Olympics would follow strict norms and procedures as they need to get themselves tested 96 hours before their arrival in Japan. They will also need to socially distant themselves two weeks before their departure. They’ll be tested daily for COVID-19 in order to prevent the spread of the virus at the games.