COVID-19 vaccine not compulsory for Olympic athletes – IOC

NEWSMAN, Abuja – International Olympic Committee president, Thomas Bach, has affirmed that vaccinating athletes will not be made compulsory before the start of the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo next year.

The event which was originally due to take place from July 24 to August 9, 2020, was postponed in March 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and has been rescheduled to take place between July 23 to August 8 2021.

Bach, speaking during his first visit to Japan since the global health crisis hit, said making a vaccination for COVID-19 mandatory for athletes wanting to take part at the Games would be “going too far”.

The IOC President claimed taking a coronavirus vaccine would be a “free decision” for athletes and others involved in the event, but said they should do so as a “sign of respect” for other competitors and the host nation.

Bach said, “We will encourage athletes that whenever possible they have the vaccination because it is better for their health, and it is also a demonstration of solidarity with their fellow athletes and also the Japanese people.”

Tokyo 2020 organisers and the IOC last week were boosted by the news of a vaccine being developed by American pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and BioNTech has been found to be 90 per cent effective in preventing people from getting the virus after global trials.

American company Moderna last Sunday also revealed a COVID-19 vaccine it is developing is nearly 95 per cent effective.

Despite the news of the breakthrough in the research concerning the coronavirus, athletes from third world countries may find it difficult to access the vaccines before the start of the Games.

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