Covid vaccine developers Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE agreed to provide their vaccine doses to all those participating in the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020, which are scheduled to begin on July 23, 2021.
The companies have signed a Memorandum of Understanding or MoU with the International Olympic Committee or IOC to donate their COVID-19 vaccine to the participating athletes and their delegations.
Under the MoU, the companies and the IOC will coordinate with National Olympic Committees or NOCs around the world to find out the need for vaccine doses to vaccinate participating delegations.
Delivery of initial doses would begin at the end of May where possible with the aim to ensure participating delegations receive second doses ahead of arrivals in Tokyo.
Under the MoU framework, NOCs and their local governments would coordinate the administration of vaccinations to eligible Games participants.
The companies noted that doses provided under the MoU with IOC would be in addition to doses provided under supply agreements with various governments.
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. 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.”
Meanwhile, the IOC and International Paralympic Committee or IPC have made it clear that vaccination is not mandatory in order for athletes to participate in the Olympic and Paralympic Games, and that any vaccination program must be conducted in full respect of national vaccination priorities.
The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, which is based on BioNTech proprietary mRNA technology, was developed by both BioNTech and Pfizer. The COVID-19 vaccine is authorized for use under an Emergency Use Authorization for active immunization to prevent COVID-19 in individuals 16 years of age and older.
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