— Published 7 May 2021

The IOC deals with Pfizer and BioNTech

Tokyo vaccin

With less than three months to go before the Olympics, the IOC speeds up. The Olympic body announced the signature of a memorandum of understanding with American pharmaceutical laboratories Pfizer Inc. and German BioNTech SE, for the provision of vaccine doses against COVID-19 to the Olympic and Paralympic participants from around the world. The doses will be provided to National Olympic Committees, whose mission will be to work with their respective governments “to coordinate local distribution in accordance with each country’s vaccination guidelines and regulations.” The Lausanne-based body said: “Based on information provided by NOCs and NPCs, a significant portion of participants should be vaccinated before arriving in Japan. The new memorandum of understanding adds to these efforts.” Additional doses delivered by Pfizer and BioNTech will not be taken from existing programs, but will be added to current quotas and planned deliveries worldwide. We invite athletes and delegations participating in the upcoming Olympic and Paralympic Games to lead by example and accept the vaccine whenever possible,” said Thomas Bach. By getting vaccinated, they can send a strong message that vaccination is not only about personal health, but also about solidarity and consideration for the well-being of others in their community.” The agreement signed by the IOC is said to have been prompted by a recent conversation between Albert Bourla, Pfizer’s president and CEO, and Yoshihide Suga, the Japanese Prime Minister, in which the Greek business leader offered to donate vaccines to athletes and their delegations. After this conversation, the Japanese government has spoken with the IOC to implement this promise. This is not the first vaccine partnership agreement the Olympic body deals with. A protocol had already been signed last March with the Chinese Olympic Committee. It planned the distribution of Chinese vaccines before the Tokyo Summer Games and Beijing 2022 Winter Games.