Ireland’s Irish Olympic and Paralympic athletes, together with their support teams expecting to travel to Tokyo this summer, will receive their Covid-19 vaccine.
This comes after an agreement between the Pfizer and the International Olympic Committee which will see all athletes across the globe, who have qualified for both the Olympics and Paralympics, offered the vaccine.
The development has been welcomed by both the Olympic and Paralympic Federations of Ireland, given the very high levels of anxiety that a lack of vaccination was causing among the teams.
It's expected that around 11,000 Olympic and 4,400 Paralympic athletes from more than 200 countries will compete in Tokyo. The Olympics Games are scheduled to start on July 23, while the the Paralympic Games are due to start on August 24.
Speaking today, President of Paralympics Ireland, John Fulham said
“Today’s announcement from the IOC in relation to vaccinations for the Paralympic and Olympic Teams travelling to Tokyo is very welcome and our sincere thanks goes out to Pfizer Biontech, the IOC and IPC for the work they have done to make this possible.”
“To be able to provide the necessary level of care for our athletes and staff, as they seek to perform at the highest level, has been our primary concern. We have been working tirelessly in seeking the best solutions, conscious of the broader societal pressures at this time, ensuring those most vulnerable took priority.”
“We look forward to working with our athletes, support staff, Olympic Colleagues, while being supported by our Government so our Teams can travel to Tokyo and be in the best and safest position to perform on the world stage. That is something for Ireland to look forward to.”
Olympic Federation of Ireland President, Sarah Keane said,
“I would like to thank the IOC and IPC on behalf of Team Ireland for this very significant breakthrough. It provides the athletes and support staff who work so hard to represent us internationally with the appropriate level of care in advance of the Games.
“Over recent months we have been very conscious of the wider issues around us in society and were working intensely to advocate for vaccination of the team at the appropriate time when those most vulnerable in society had come first.
“This breakthrough is a major relief for all of us given the significant challenges that we were facing and the lack of time remaining to find a resolution. I take this opportunity to express our sincere gratitude to Pfizer BionTech, the IOC and the IPC for helping to make this possible with the support of the Irish Government.”