The International Olympic Committee (IOC) produced a new video calling on world leaders to “ensure free and equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines”.
Full Transcript of the Video:
As athletes, we can bring the world together through the power of sport. Now, more than ever, we stand united to use that power of sport and the Olympic and Paralympic Movement to help win the battle against COVID because we go faster, we aim higher, we are stronger when we stand together.
We have been given a way forward with a safe and effective vaccine that can help save precious lives and protect our friends… and our families. So we call on governments, foundations, philanthropists, health organizations and social businesses to join hands in giving free and equal access to the vaccine for everybody across the world to pledge our collective responsibility to protect those who are the most vulnerable, because everyone on this planet has a right to live a healthy life. We are stronger together when we stand in solidarity and care for each other.
The IOC echoes the World Health Organization’s (WHO) call for 70% of the population in each country to be vaccinated by the start of July 2022. Currently, a little under 60% of the global population has received at least one dose of the vaccine. However, less than 10% of people in low-income countries have received at least one dose.
The United States is currently sitting at a 63% “fully vaccinated” rate, still below the WHO goal of 70%.
President of the IOC Thomas Bach said that distributing vaccines “as a Global Common Good to everyone around the planet will be a great sign of solidarity for all humankind and demonstrate that we are always stronger together”.
The IOC cites vaccines as helping to host a safe Olympics and Paralympics in Tokyo, and that going forward to the Winter Games in Beijing vaccines will “form a key part of the COVID-19 countermeasures”.
Federica Pellegrini won Gold in Beijing in 2008 in the 200 free along with a Silver in Athens in 2004 in the same event. She also made the final of the 200 free in Tokyo in 2020, becoming the first female swimmer to qualify for the final in the same event at five different Olympics.
Ellie Cole is Australia’s most decorated Paralympian, having won six Gold, five Silver, and six Bronze medals over four Paralympic Games. Cole is a backstroke and freestyle specialist.
Akiko Thomson is a retired swimmer that competed in the Olympics in 1988, 1992, and 1996. Thomson was a backstroke and freestyle specialist.