On Wednesday, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced the signing of a deal with pharmaceutical giant Pfizer to supply vaccines for athletes participating in the Olympics.

The IOC and Pfizer reached a memorandum of understanding to supply the Olympics with enough vaccines to cover the athletes. This would enable the upcoming summer Tokyo Olympics to be safer despite pressure to cancel it because the Japanese government handled the coronavirus.

“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.”

“We see the importance of vaccination all around the world,” Prof. Uğur Erdener, Chair of the IOC Medical and Scientific Commission, said. “We encourage the athletes and Games participants to take the vaccine whenever possible. Vaccination is an important tool to protect not only themselves but also their communities.”

“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 Albert Bourla, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Pfizer. “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.”

While the Japanese government continues to push for the Olympics to go on as planned, the government is considering extending a coronavirus-spurred state of emergency in Tokyo and other major urban areas.

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