The IOC, together with the National Olympic Committees (NOCs) and government authorities of Qatar and Rwanda, with support from Pfizer, has established two further pre-Games vaccination opportunities for Olympic and Paralympic Games participants.
These two vaccination hubs allow Games participants who will be unable to be vaccinated in their home countries in advance of travelling to Japan for the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 to get inoculated.
The two hubs will both offer the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, in line with the IOC announcement on 6 May 2021 of the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE to donate doses of the companies’ COVID-19 vaccine to Games participants from National Olympic and Paralympic Committees around the world.
The IOC is in contact with a few NOCs whose athletes are not yet able to access vaccination programmes and who would therefore be eligible to travel to either the hub in Doha (Qatar) or Kigali (Rwanda). They have been set up respectively by the Qatar Olympic Committee and the Rwanda Olympic Committee in relation with the relevant government and medical authorities in their regions and with Pfizer’s support. Concerned NOCs can apply for travel support from Olympic Solidarity should they need it.
On this important development, IOC NOC Relations and Olympic Solidarity Director James Macleod said: “We cannot thank enough the two NOCs, their national governments and Pfizer for their generosity and great show of willingness and support. The progress in preparation of work on the ground has been outstanding, and these additional vaccination opportunities are enabling the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 to be safe and secure not only for the participants, but also for the Japanese people.”
H.E. Sheikh Joaan Bin Hamad Al-Thani, President of the Qatar Olympic Committee, said: “We are delighted to be a part of this excellent initiative and to contribute to safe Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. We are grateful to our colleagues in Japan and the IOC for their tremendous efforts in ensuring the Games can go ahead safely. We all have a responsibility to repay this hard work by doing everything we can to protect the health of the Japanese people and all Games participants.”
The Doha vaccination hub comes in addition to the Qatar Olympic Committee’s confirmation that it will also host the Refugee Olympic Team in early July in a training camp in Doha prior to the team travelling to Tokyo.
Meanwhile, IOC Member in Rwanda Felicite Rwemarika explained the rationale behind the decision to create a hub in Rwanda: “We were also driven to join this initiative in solidarity with our friends at the Japan Olympic Committee, who have constantly supported our NOC by generously hosting training camps for our athletes.”
This is yet another example of the spirit of solidarity that has been witnessed between NOCs, and one that the IOC is supporting in every possible way. From the outset, the IOC has underlined the importance of solidarity in the fight against the virus, and to see this become a reality is testament to the commitment of Olympic Movement stakeholders to making the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 safe and secure for all involved.
Currently as many as 75 per cent of the residents of the Olympic Village are already vaccinated or have secured vaccination; and there is good reason to believe that this figure will be well over 80 per cent at the time of the Games.