Pfizer to Donate COVID-19 Vaccines for Tokyo Olympics Athletes, Officials

Adam WellsMay 6, 2021

Security guards are seen through the Olympic Rings near the National Stadium for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games, in Tokyo on April 28, 2021. (Photo by CHARLY TRIBALLEAU / AFP) (Photo by CHARLY TRIBALLEAU/AFP via Getty Images)

With the Olympics scheduled to being in two months, Pfizer and BioNTech are donating COVID-19 vaccines for athletes and officials in preparation for the Tokyo Games. 

Per the Associated Press, Pfizer is expected to start delivering doses of the vaccine this month in order to ensure Olympic delegations are fully vaccinated before the Games begin on July 23. 

It's still not certain the Olympics are going to be held. 

Per Rick Maese of the Washington Post, Japan's government recently declared a third state of emergency in Tokyo after an increase in COVID-19 infections, with "many of the new cases involve highly infectious variant strains of the virus."

Thomas Bach, president of the International Olympic Committee, told reporters amid the state of emergency declaration that organizers remain optimistic about the event being able to take place because of safety precautions they have implemented. 

โ€œI think everybody should take into consideration and slowly give more room to confidence and hope and then start to leave the doubts a little bit behind,โ€ Bach said.

Justin McMurry of The Guardian reported April 26 that just 1.3 percent of Japan's entire population has received at least one dose of the vaccine because of the slow rollout by the health ministry. 

The Olympics were originally going to take place from July 24 to Aug. 9, 2020, but it got pushed back one year because of the coronavirus pandemic. 

Bach told Ayano Shimizu of Kyodo News in January that "there is no plan B" for the Games if they have to be postponed again, but he added that "at this moment" there's no reason to think they won't start on time. 

Kyodo News reported in March that overseas spectators won't be permitted to attend the Olympics in Tokyo. 

The Tokyo Games are currently scheduled to run from July 23 to Aug. 8.