Olympic boss Thomas Bach urges athletes and officials to be vaccinated ahead of Tokyo Games

Matt Majendie
·2 min read
 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Olympic boss Thomas Bach has advised national Olympic committees that their athletes and officials be vaccinated as a part of a “toolbox of Covid-19 countermeasures” to enable the delayed Tokyo Games to go ahead.

While Bach reiterated in his call to the NOCs, including the British Olympic Association, that vaccinations would not be obligatory, the IOC is aware that the revised Games are under threat.

Some 80% of the Japanese public recently stated their objection to the Games going ahead in 2021 with Covid cases rising in the Olympic host nation, .

Bach said in the call: “We encourage all the Olympic and Paralympic participants who are offered the vaccination to accept it, also as an act of solidarity with the Japanese hosts and their fellow participants.”

But he added that “vaccination will not be obligatory”. In a statement late on Tuesday, the IOC also said: “The IOC and its partners have been developing a toolbox of Covid-19 countermeasures.

“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.”

Denis Masseglia, the president of the French National Olympic Committee, said vaccination was the key while “holding the Games is at stake”.

He said: “We are not alone. For our Japanese friends to receive athletes and accredited people all over the world requires some precautions.”

The IOC’s executive board is meeting throughout Wednesday to discuss the logistics of the Tokyo Games following reports last week that the Government in Japan was edging towards cancelling the Games, which was later rebuked by Government and Games officials as well as the IOC.

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