95 percent of all athletes and officials will be vaccinated by the start of the Tokyo Games, The Japanese Olympic Committee announced on Thursday.
This number is significantly higher than the previous estimate of 80 percent, reportedly given by the International Olympic Committee.
Vaccination hubs have been set up in Qatar and Rwanda to inoculate those who have been unable to get vaccinated in their home countries before the Olympic and Paralympic Games. Both hubs will be offering the Pfizer vaccine because Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE have decided to donate doses to Games participants around the world.
The JOC began vaccinating Olympic athletes and officials on Tuesday, and plans to vaccinate a total of 1800 more people: 600 athletes and 1200 coaches. 15000 athletes are estimated to participate in the Olympic Games.
Those unable to travel to Rwanda or Qatar can apply for travel assistance from Olympic Solidarity, an organization aimed at assisting all National Olympic Committees (NOC’s.)
Japan recently canceled an important dignitaries event, a reception for foreign government officials that was scheduled for August 8, the same day as the Olympic closing ceremony.
Olympic Minister Tamayo Marukawa explained that an event involving eating and drinking would be unwise in terms of infection prevention. The decision was also to cut down on cost and scale down the Games, according to the Japanese news agency Kyodo News.
Cancellations of events are also in response to public disagreement that the Games should go on during a pandemic. In January, a poll conducted by Kyodo and the Tokyo Broadcasting System (TBS) showed 80 percent of Japanese citizens said the Tokyo Olympics should be canceled or postponed, otherwise they believe the Olympics will not take place. (AP)
While we don’t have a new quantifying measurement, “Public opposition to the games remains strong,” Kyodo reported on Tuesday. But JOC President Yasuhiro Yamashita has assured athletes that the Games will be held “safely and securely” and they do not need to feel guilty about attending.
The number of officials and staff set to attend the Games has plummeted from about 180,000 to 78,000, but the JOC aims to lower that number further.
The IOC and JOC have decided to not allow international spectators and are still debating on how to handle domestic spectators, regarding coronavirus precautions.
Japan experienced a peak in coronavirus cases in early May of about 7,000 new daily cases . This number has lowered by about 4,000 daily cases.
Currently, Japan is listed as a Level Four or “do not travel” location on the United States Travel Advisory.