TOKYO – Japan is expected to secure additional COVID-19 vaccine doses for about 20,000 people who will work at this summer’s Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics to improve the safety of the global sporting events, several officials familiar with the plan said Monday.
The vaccine, set to be offered to some volunteers and members of the media in the country, will be on top of the 20,000 doses Japan has already received from Pfizer Inc. under an agreement between the U.S. pharmaceutical company and the International Olympic Committee, the officials said.
While the Japanese organizers have said getting vaccinated for the coronavirus will not be required for people working or participating at the Olympics, the IOC has stressed it would contribute to holding a safe and secure games amid the pandemic.
The Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic organizing committee on Monday informed media outlets that it will provide Pfizer vaccine doses to media workers accredited to cover the Tokyo Games.
They will receive the shots at a vaccination center set up by the Tokyo metropolitan government for games officials and support staff.
Japan plans to vaccinate Olympic and Paralympic officials, referees and other support staff expected to come into close contact with athletes after receiving 20,000 doses through the IOC.
The government and the organizing committee had hoped to secure additional doses for officials in Japan, where inoculations have lagged far behind other developed countries and the majority of people have yet to be vaccinated.
Japan started inoculating the country’s Olympic athletes on June 1. The IOC has said 75 percent of prospective Olympic and Paralympic village residents have either already been vaccinated or are scheduled to be vaccinated, with the figure set to rise to over 80 percent when the games start.