— Published 3 June 2021

Two mass vaccination sites in Rwanda and Qatar

Tokyo 2020

With less than two months to go before the opening of the Tokyo Games, the IOC is stepping up the pace. The Olympic body has announced the set up of two COVID-19 mass vaccination sites, intended for athletes selected for the Games who are unable to benefit from a national vaccination programme. The first is in Doha, Qatar, and the second in Kigali, Rwanda. In both cases, athletes will be able to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, as both pharmaceutical companies have promised to supply the IOC with vaccines before the Tokyo Games. On a practical level, the operation promises to be complex. The travel to Doha or Kigali of athletes who “do not yet have access to vaccination programmes” has to be organised, with costs that can be covered by Olympic Solidarity. With less than two months to go before the Games, it will not be easy to get athletes to travel to Rwanda or Qatar to receive a first dose and then return a few weeks later for the second injection, especially with current travel restrictions. But James Macleod, the director of Olympic Solidarity, is confident. “These additional vaccination opportunities will ensure that the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games are safe and secure not only for the participants, but also for the Japanese population,” he explained.