IOC Delegate Claims COVID-19 Vaccine Not Needed To Stage Tokyo Olympics

Money trumps science?  

It should not be much of a surprise that some people who help put on a sports industry event are looking at finances and not COVID-19 information. The latest group that is pushing to get on with a normal sports life is the International Olympic Committee. An IOC delegate John Coates, an Australian lawyer in his day job, has expressed doubts that scientists and doctors are right when they say a COVID-19 vaccine is needed to hold the 2021 Tokyo Summer Olympics. An Olympics by definition attracts people. Athletes, coaches, trainers, agents, marketing partners, television and media personnel, spectators. There will be about 11,000 Olympians and 4,400 Paralympians from more than 200 nations who would live in the Olympic Village in Tokyo. Japan has not been able to completely contain the spread of COVID-19 which forced the International Olympic Committee to postpone the 2020 Tokyo Games. The president of the Tokyo 2020 event, Yoshiro Mori said the that Tokyo Olympics would be scrapped if Tokyo was unable to hold the event in 2021. The IOC’s 2022 Beijing, China Olympics is only about six months behind Tokyo and that event may fall into the same category of possibly not happening without a vaccine or treatment for COVID-19.

“The advice we’re getting the World Health Organization says we should continue to plan for this date and that is what we’re doing, and that’s not contingent on a vaccine,” Coates said. “A vaccine would be nice. But we will just continue to be guided by WHO and the Japanese health authorities.” But Japan’s Medical Association president Yoshitake Yokokura said the Olympics could take place if the infections were under control globally. “In my view, it would be difficult to hold the Olympics unless effective vaccines are developed,” Yokokura said. Initially sports organizers commissioners and presidents said decisions would be based on scientific data.

The Olympic rings are seen Monday, March 30, 2020, in Tokyo. The Tokyo Olympics will open next year in the same time slot scheduled for this year’s games. Tokyo organizers said Monday the opening ceremony will take place on July 23, 2021. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)