TOKYO: Participants in next year’s Tokyo Olympics will not be required to take a coronavirus vaccination to join the games, International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach said Tuesday.
“This will be no requirement” for athletes and other people involved in the event to get vaccinated, said Bach, who is visiting Japan to show the IOC’s full commitment to holding a successful Tokyo Games. The Summer Olympics and Paralympics have been postponed by one year to 2021 due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Bach also said there will be “no obligation” for foreign spectators to get vaccinated.
It goes too far to require a vaccination as it is a matter of private health, Bach said. The IOC will encourage athletes and other people involved in the games to get vaccinated, especially those who are going to spend time in the athletes’ village, he said, while adding that whether to do so will be up to them.
The IOC chief’s remarks came a day after he told a press conference in Tokyo that vaccines will likely be available by next summer and that if so, the IOC will cover the cost of vaccination.
Also on Tuesday, Bach took a look at the athletes’ village in Tokyo’s Chuo Ward and praised coronavirus measures there.
There will be adequate social distancing, and people will feel safe and relaxed in the village, Bach said.
He also visited the new National Stadium in the Japanese capital’s Shinjuku Ward, where the opening and closing ceremonies, and other events will take place. It is filled with a great atmosphere, Bach said.
Speaking to reporters after visiting the stadium, Bach said he will visit Japan again next spring. Although he did not go into details, he indicated he would visit the country in line with the start of the torch relay on March 25 in Fukushima Prefecture, northeastern Japan.