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Tokyo Games chief wary of Chinese vaccines for athletes

Tokyo, March 13 (Jiji Press)–Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics organizing committee head Seiko Hashimoto on Friday expressed reservations about having Japanese athletes receive a novel coronavirus vaccine offered by China.

 

Unless many people agree to the proposed vaccination program, “I don’t think athletes can receive (the vaccine) without worry,” Hashimoto said at a press conference in Tokyo.

 

International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach revealed Thursday that the Chinese Olympic Committee has offered to provide COVID-19 vaccines to participants at the Tokyo Games.

 

“President Bach has commented that many people coming to Japan after getting vaccinated may provide safety and security to the people of Japan,” Hashimoto said. “I feel he has a strong desire to work on the matter.”

 

“It is up to how the Japanese government thinks about this issue,” she added.

 

During Friday’s discussions at an online general meeting of the IOC, an IOC official explained that the Chinese offer will apply only to countries where the Chinese vaccine has been approved by their national health authorities. The Chinese vaccine has not received Japanese regulatory approval.

 

Also at Friday’s news conference in Tokyo, Hashimoto reiterated the plan to present the Tokyo Games organizing committee’s opinion on limits for audiences at the events by April.

 

“I have received many voices calling for an early decision from a variety of professions and industries,” she said.

 

The comment comes after Bach suggested Wednesday that a decision on setting limits for the number of audience members may be made as late as May or June.

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