The International Olympics Committee sets up vaccination hubs in Rwanda and Qatar

QATAR AND RWANDA – Qatar and Rwanda established vaccination hubs for pre-games vaccination of Olympic and Paralympic Games participants in collaboration with the IOC, National Olympic Committees (NOC), government authorities and Pfizer.

These two vaccination hubs allow Games participants who will be unable to be vaccinated in their home countries in advance of travelling to Japan for the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 to get inoculated.

The two hubs will both offer the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, in line with the IOC announcement on 6 May 2021 of the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE to donate doses of the companies’ COVID-19 vaccine to Games participants from National Olympic and Paralympic Committees around the world.

Athletes who have not been able to access vaccines in their respective countries are eligible to travel to either country for vaccination prior to the games. Olympic solidarity has offered to support concerned NOCs with transport support if need be.

IOC NOC Relations and Olympic Solidarity Director, James Macleod, expressed his gratitude to the two NOCs, their national governments and Pfizer for their generosity and great show of willingness and support which will enable the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 to be safe and secure not only for the participants, but also for the Japanese people.

“We all have a responsibility to repay the hard work by Japan and IOC to ensure the games go ahead safely by doing everything we can to protect the health of the Japanese people and all Games participants,” coined H.E. Sheikh Joan Bin Hamad Al-Thani, President of the Qatar Olympic Committee.

The Doha vaccination hub comes in addition to the Qatar Olympic Committee’s confirmation that it will also host the Refugee Olympic Team in early July in a training camp in Doha prior to the team travelling to Tokyo.

The decision by IOC to choose Rwanda as the covid-19 vaccination hub was welcomed by many, including Sports Minister Aurore Mimosa Munyangaju. “Thank you, IOC, for trusting Rwanda as a vaccination hub for athletes attending the Tokyo 2020. Welcome to Rwanda!” Munyangaju reacted to the IOC development.

Rwanda has been very apt in the fight against Covid-19. The country is targeting to reap from WHO’s initiative to establish permanent vaccine production capacity in Africa in order to expand capacity to produce Covid-19 vaccines and scale up manufacturing to increase global access using mRNA-vaccine technology.

“Rwanda is working with partners to bring the first mRNA manufacturing facility to Africa. So long as Africa remains dependent on other regions for vaccines, we will always be at the back of the queue, whenever there is scarcity,” President Kagame said.

Currently as many as 75 per cent of the residents of the Olympic Village are already vaccinated or have secured vaccination; and there is good reason to believe that this figure will be well over 80 per cent at the time of the Games.

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