The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has urged the teams competing in the upcoming Olympic and Paralympic Games, scheduled to be held later in the year in Tokyo, to be vaccinated against novel coronavirus.
According to a news release on IOC website, IOC president Thomas Bach last Friday consulted National Olympic Committees (NOCs) as well as the World Health Organisation (WHO) as the preparations for the Tokyo Games and the 2022 Beijing Winter Games enter the final stretch.
The IOC said a toolbox of Covid-19 countermeasures has been developed, which includes immigration procedures, quarantine measures, testing, personal protective equipment, contact tracing and also vaccinations.
"Vaccines are one of many tools available in the toolbox, to be used at the appropriate time and in the appropriate way. The IOC continues to strongly support the priority of vaccinating vulnerable groups, nurses, medical doctors and everyone who is keeping our societies safe," it said.
In order to get a full picture about the vaccination situation for the 206 NOCs, the IOC will send a letter to the NOCs asking them to actively engage with their respective governments on this matter and to report back to the IOC in early February.
"In all these conversations and initiatives, the IOC is guided by four principles: firstly, to organise Olympic Games in a safe environment for everyone. Secondly, vaccination priority should be given to vulnerable groups, nurses, medical doctors and everyone who is keeping our societies safe," said Bach.
"Thirdly, we encourage all the Olympic and Paralympic participants who are offered vaccination to accept it, also as an act of solidarity with the Japanese hosts and their fellow participants. Fourthly, vaccination will not be obligatory," he added.
The Tokyo Olympics, which were slated to be held in July-August last year, had to be postponed to summer of 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.