The Brazilian Olympic Committee (COB in Portuguese), the Ministry of Defense, the Ministry of Health, and the Ministry of Citizenship have determined that the vaccination of Brazilians who will work or represent Brazil at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games will begin on May 14th. The deadline for receiving the second dose to all members of the Tokyo 2020 Games is June 21st, 15 days from the first shipment to Japan and 33 days from the Olympic Games opening. Through this agreement, participants in the Paralympic Games will also benefit from August 24th to September 5th in Japan.
The vaccines will be replaced by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), which offered doses to all National Olympic Committees and enough vaccines to immunize two more citizens of the countries that benefited from the donation. The forecast is that approximately 1,800 Brazilians will be vaccinated to go to Japan, which is equivalent to approximately seven thousand additional doses delivered to SUS, and about 3,600 people benefited from the donation of vaccines through the National Immunization Plan.
The announcement was made this Tuesday, 11th, in Brasília, at an event (access here) attended by the Minister of Health, Marcelo Queiroga, the Minister of Citizenship, João Roma, the Special Secretary for Sports, Marcelo Magalhães, and the director of the Military Sports Department of the Ministry of Defense, Major-Brigadier Isaias Carvalho, in addition to the vice president of the Brazilian Olympic Committee (COB), Marco Antônio La Porta Júnior.
“COB has always been in favor of following the National Immunization Plan. Furthermore, we only opened conversations about the possibility of immunizing the delegation when we confirmed that the country would receive two more doses to immunize the Brazilian population for each athlete or vaccinated official. This is a great contribution by the Olympic Movement at this very difficult time the world is facing”, says La Porta, COB's Head of Mission at the Olympic Games. "Even without the vaccine being mandatory for participation in the Games, there is no doubt that we will feel safer to represent Brazil in the Olympic Games", he completes.
Before the vaccination began, the Ministry of Health issued a technical note including the Olympic delegation in the National Immunization Plan. Approximately 190 accredited individuals have already been immunized, and another 200 are abroad, therefore, outside the list of vaccination delivered to the Federal Government. The Ministry of Defense will be responsible for vaccination logistics and offered military installations in six Brazilian cities: Belo Horizonte, Brasília, Fortaleza, Porto Alegre, Rio de Janeiro, and São Paulo. COB, in turn, will take athletes to the capital nearest to where they are to receive the vaccine.
“We held several meetings with the Ministry of Defense to facilitate the logistics of the Armed Forces. For example, volleyball will be concentrated in Saquarema (RJ), and the idea is that the vaccine will go there. We have many athletes currently training at the “Time Brasil” Training Center and, therefore, we also want to use this space as a vaccination point”, explains COB President Paulo Wanderley. “Sports has this ability to send a message of hope, of a turning point in this difficult moment we are going through. Having athletes protected from the most serious symptoms and, at the same time, benefiting the population is something very advantageous”, he adds.
In early March, IOC President Thomas Bach reported that China had offered vaccines to all athletes and officials participating in the Tokyo Games and those competing in the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics. According to the IOC, doses will be made available through collaboration with international partners or directly in countries with agreements established with the Chinese government.
Many countries have informed the intention or have already begun immunizing their delegations, such as Germany, Belgium, Canada, Spain, Italy, Mexico, and New Zealand. The IOC recently stated that it believes that mass vaccination of athletes, while not a requirement of the Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee or the IOC itself for participation in the Games, will be important in creating a safer environment in Tokyo.
“We are helping to put more vaccines in the public system. We even believe that athletes can encourage the population to get vaccinated, especially for the second dose, which many are not taking. Everyone benefits from this action”, says the Olympic champion and general director of COB, Rogério Sampaio.
- When will the delegation be vaccinated?
The vaccination begins on May 14th and will be conducted in the following cities: Belo Horizonte, Brasília, Fortaleza, Porto Alegre, Rio de Janeiro, and São Paulo. The deadline for receiving the second dose to all members of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games is June 21st, 15 days from the first shipment to Japan and 33 days from the Games' opening.
- How many people are on the vaccination list?
There will be approximately 1,800 people vaccinated, which is equivalent to about seven thousand additional doses delivered to SUS, and 3,600 people benefited from the donation of vaccines through the National Immunization Plan.
- How was the evaluation of people eligible for vaccination other than athletes?
The list included all athletes and officials already classified or with a chance of participating in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Brazilians who will work in Japan during the Games were also included, such as members of the accredited media and companies that confirmed the participation of a Brazilian professional in Tokyo through documentation sent by the IOC. Brazilians already vaccinated or who are abroad were excluded from the list.
- How will the vaccination be conducted?
The Ministry of Defense is responsible for vaccination logistics and has offered military facilities in six Brazilian cities - Belo Horizonte, Brasília, Fortaleza, Porto Alegre, Rio de Janeiro, and São Paulo - to serve participants in the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
COB provided the “Time Brasil” Training Center in Rio de Janeiro and, in partnership with the Brazilian Volleyball Confederation, the Volleyball Development Center, in Saquarema. Additionally, the Brazilian Paralympic Committee ceded its Training Center in São Paulo.
COB will take the athletes, members of the technical commissions, and their staff to the closest capital to get this vaccine.
Other accredited individuals will be released to be vaccinated in the capitals closest to their cities of origin, with independent displacement.
- Which vaccines will be received, from which lot?
Given the IOC donations, Sinovac or Pfizer immunizers may be used, depending on availability. All will be replaced by the IOC, which will add enough doses for two more Brazilians for each vaccinated member of the delegation.
- Have these vaccines already been imported by the Ministry of Health, or will they still be requested/imported?
COB and the Ministry of Health are in negotiations to observe all the determinations of Brazilian legislation regarding donations and ensure that doses reach SUS as soon as possible.
- Have countries other than Brazil already begun vaccination?
Yes. Countries such as Germany, Australia, Belgium, Canada, China, South Korea, Denmark, Spain, United States, Netherlands, Hungary, Great Britain, Israel, Lithuania, Mexico, and New Zealand, among others, have already begun immunizing its delegations.