The International Paralympic Committee has expressed its gratitude after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced that Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE will donate doses of the companies’ COVID-19 vaccine to participants in the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games Beijing 2022.
It follows a Memorandum of Understanding which was reached in May for the companies to donate vaccines to Games participants of the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 that was extended to cover the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games Beijing 2022.
The IOC and the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) will continue to work with the National Olympic Committees (NOCs) and National Paralympic Committees (NPCs) to assist their athletes, officials and Games stakeholders residing in their territories to get vaccinated before they travel to China.
IPC President Andrew Parsons said: “The whole Paralympic Movement is extremely grateful to the IOC for its efforts securing donations of vaccines from Pfizer and BioNTech ahead of the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games Beijing 2022.”
IOC President Thomas Bach said “We would like to thank Pfizer and BioNTech for this donation as we approach the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022. This is another measure in our plan to stage safe Games for the athletes and all the participants and builds on our successful collaboration.”
For participants in Beijing 2022, it will be mandatory to be fully vaccinated according to the requirements of their respective home countries at least 14 days prior to departure for China, in order to be allowed in the closed loop system without quarantine. Anyone not fully vaccinated as stated above will need to quarantine for 21 days upon arrival in Beijing. Exceptions may be granted for athletes and team officials on a case-by-case basis, based on medical reasons.
The donation from Pfizer and BioNTech forms a key part of plans to help ensure safe Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games next year and follows the release of the first edition of the Beijing 2022 Playbooks, which provide comprehensive COVID-19 guidelines to help participants prepare for travelling to and arriving in China, fulfilling their roles at the Games, and their departure from Beijing.
Vaccines form one of the main principles of hosting safe Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, helping protect broader public health as well as that of the athletes and national delegations as outlined in the Playbooks.
The vaccine doses donated by Pfizer and BioNTech will not be taken out of existing vaccination programmes, but will be in addition to existing quotas and planned deliveries around the world.