Pfizer to donate vaccines for athletes at Olympics

Pfizer to donate vaccines for athletes at Olympics
© Clive Rose/Getty Images

Pfizer announced on Thursday that it will donate doses of its coronavirus vaccine to inoculate athletes at this summer’s Olympics in Tokyo. 

The company said in a statement that it signed a memorandum of understanding with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to give the shots to vaccinate athletes for the Olympic and Paralympic Games, which are scheduled to begin on July 23, 2021.

“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.”

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The delivery of the shots will likely start later this month.

“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 Pfizer Chairman Albert Bourla. “The return of the Olympic and Paralympic Games represents a monumental moment of world unity and peace after a grueling year of isolation and devastation. We are proud to play a role in providing vaccines to athletes and national Olympic delegations.” 

The donations are just the latest effort to bolster health safety surrounding the July games, which critics have said are still taking place too soon after being postponed from their original start date in 2020.

International spectators are already banned from attending the event while the debate is ongoing over the presence of domestic spectators.