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Pfizer to donate COVID-19 vaccine to Tokyo Olympics athletes

Click to play video: 'Concerns grow over Japan’s COVID-19 situation ahead of Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games' Concerns grow over Japan’s COVID-19 situation ahead of Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games
WATCH: Concerns grow over Japan's COVID-19 situation ahead of Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games – Apr 24, 2021

Vaccine developers Pfizer and BioNTech will donate doses to inoculate athletes and officials preparing for the Tokyo Olympics, the IOC said Thursday.

Delivery of doses is set to begin this month to give Olympic delegations time to be fully vaccinated with a second shot before arriving in Tokyo for the games, which open on July 23.

It’s the second major vaccination deal for the International Olympic Committee. An agreement was announced in March between the IOC and Olympic officials in China to buy and distribute Chinese vaccines ahead of the Tokyo Games and next year’s Beijing Winter Games.

Read more: Cancelling Tokyo Olympics remains an option, top Japanese party official says

The new Pfizer offer gives the IOC greater coverage worldwide ahead of Tokyo with most countries yet to authorize emergency use of Chinese vaccines.

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“We are inviting the athletes and participating delegations of the upcoming Olympic and Paralympic Games to lead by example and accept the vaccine where and when possible,” IOC President Thomas Bach said in a statement.

The Pfizer donation followed talks between the firm’s chairman and CEO, Albert Bourla, and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga.

“Following this conversation, the Japanese government had a meeting with the IOC and now the donation plan has been realized,” Pfizer said in a statement.

Click to play video: 'Fears and major hurdles as Tokyo Olympics nears' Fears and major hurdles as Tokyo Olympics nears
Fears and major hurdles as Tokyo Olympics nears – Apr 14, 2021

The IOC said any vaccination program must be done “in accordance with each country’s vaccination guidelines and consistent with local regulations.”

The IOC-China vaccine deal includes two does being made available to the general public for each dose received by an Olympic participant in that country.

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