Team GB’s bid to have all of their athletes fully vaccinated for the Tokyo Olympics has been boosted after the International Olympic Committee struck a deal for a supply of Pfizer jabs.
With 11 weeks to go until the Games begin, the British Olympic Association have asked the Government if the usual 12-week gap between vaccine doses can be shortened for their stars otherwise most will go to Japan having only had one jab.
But if the Government fail to budge, Team GB may now have a fall-back option after Pfizer-BioNTech offered donations of their vaccine for all athletes and support staff ahead of the Olympics and Paralympics.
Team GB, who launched its new kit on Thursday, have been given a vaccine boost ahead of the Tokyo Olympics
A BOA spokesperson said: ‘Given the success of the domestic rollout our ambition remains to get all Olympians fully vaccinated before Tokyo and we’re working closely with Government to bring this about.
‘The news of Pfizer-BioN Tech’s donation of vaccines is welcome, and we will fully explore all options out of respect to our hosts in Japan, and for clear health and performance reasons.’
The IOC agreed a deal to buy jabs from China in March but this did not help Team GB as Chinese vaccinations are not approved in this country.
News of the Pfizer deal is a boost to the chances of the Games going ahead as scheduled in July, despite Tokyo asking for state of emergency measures, which were due to end on Tuesday, to be extended until the end of the month because coronavirus case numbers are still high.
IOC struck a deal with Pfizer to offer athletes and support staff vaccines ahead of Olympics
IOC president Thomas Bach said: ‘This donation of the vaccine is another tool in our toolbox of measures to help make the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 safe and secure for all participants, and to show solidarity with our gracious Japanese hosts.
‘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.
‘By taking the vaccine, they can send a powerful message that vaccination is not only about personal health, but also about solidarity and consideration of the wellbeing of others in their communities.’
Thomas Bach welcomed the deal with Pfizer with the Games still mired by the Covid crisis