Olympic athletes to get free shots from Pfizer and BioNTech
The Swiss-based International Olympic Committee (IOC) says vaccine developers Pfizer and BioNTech will donate doses to inoculate athletes and officials gearing up for the Tokyo Olympics.
The doses will be delivered this month so that Olympic delegations can receive two shots before arriving in Tokyo for the opening of the games on July 23.
“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 in a statement.
The Lausanne-based organisation said national Olympic committees will work with governments to coordinate local distribution in accordance with each country’s vaccination guidelines and regulations.
It also noted that the additional doses delivered by Pfizer and BioNTech will not be taken from existing programmes, but will be in addition to current quotas and planned deliveries worldwide.
It’s the second major vaccination deal for the IOC after an agreement in March with Chinese officials to buy and distribute Chinese vaccines ahead of the Tokyo Games and next year’s Beijing Winter Games.
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