Addressing the 137th IOC Session, IOC President Thomas Bach explained that, since September 2020, 270 world championships and world cups had taken place involving over 30,000 athletes, who had been subject to more than 200,000 tests. He noted that, even without vaccinations being widely available, not one of these events had turned into a virus-spreader, providing proof that international sports events with a large number of international participants can be organised while safeguarding the health of everyone.
President Bach also informed the Session that a significant number of Olympic teams had already been vaccinated, and others had received commitments from their governments, in line with their respective national vaccination delivery strategies.
In full respect of the established national vaccination priorities and guidelines, he also confirmed that the IOC is continuing to work with international partners to create additional opportunities for the vaccination of athletes.
Additionally, the IOC has received an offer from the Chinese Olympic Committee, the host of the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games Beijing 2022, to assist in making vaccines available. He noted that the plan was to make vaccine doses available to NOCs in whose territories the Chinese vaccine has been approved by the relevant national health authority.
Although the details are still being worked out, President Bach confirmed that the IOC is ready to pay for these additional doses of vaccines for not only the Olympic but also the Paralympic teams, as well as for two further doses, which can be made available to the population in the respective countries according to their needs.
From the outset, the IOC has made it clear that, while it supports the vaccination of athletes and NOCs, it will not be mandatory for them be vaccinated in order to participate in the Olympic and Paralympic Games. The IOC has also underlined that any vaccination programme must be conducted in full respect of national vaccination priorities.