As Pfizer and BioNTech donate vaccines to athletes and their delegations attending Tokyo 2020, Prof. Uğur Erdener, Chair of the IOC Medical and Scientific Commission highlights the wider value of vaccination globally.
“We see the importance of vaccination all around the world,” Prof. Erdener said in an IOC release. “We encourage the athletes and Games participants to take the vaccine whenever possible. Vaccination is an important tool to protect not only themselves, but also their communities.”
Prof. Erderner, who is also President of the Turkish National Olympic Committee and President of World Archery, is speaking at Host City Americas, taking place online on 29-30 June.
Following a meeting with Japanese government, the IOC signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Pfizer and BioNTech to donate doses of the companies’ COVID-19 vaccine to Games participants from National Olympic and Paralympic Committees around the world.
“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,” said IOC President Thomas Bach.
“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. 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. We would like to thank Pfizer and BioNTech for this very generous donation to support the vaccination of athletes and Games participants ahead of the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020.”
Any doses delivered by Pfizer and BioNTech under the agreement will not be taken out of existing vaccination programmes but will be in addition to existing quotas and planned deliveries around the world.
The IOC and the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) are working with the NOCs and National Paralympic Committees (NPCs) to encourage and assist their athletes, officials and Games stakeholders to get vaccinated in their home countries in line with national immunisation guidelines, before they go to Japan.
The offer to donate the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 to athletes and their delegations participating in the Tokyo 2020 Games came about during a conversation between Albert Bourla, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Pfizer, and Suga Yoshihide, Prime Minister of Japan.
“With hundreds of millions of vaccines already administered, and hundreds of millions more to go, Pfizer is committed, together with BioNTech, to doing all we can to help end this pandemic and help return the world to a sense of normalcy,” said Bourla.
“The return of the Olympic and Paralympic Games represents a monumental moment of world unity and peace after a gruelling year of isolation and devastation. We are proud to play a role in providing vaccines to athletes and their national Olympic delegations where possible.”
The IOC has also recently released the second edition of its Playbooks, which give detailed information and guidelines to the various stakeholder groups participating in the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020.