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Tokyo Olympics possible without Covid-19 vaccine, Bach says

IOC president Thomas Bach (by DENIS BALIBOUSE/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach raised the possibility of next year’s Olympics in Tokyo going ahead without a Covid-19 vaccine being available, in an optimistic address yesterday to the Games’ organisers.

Speaking from Switzerland, Bach addressed a meeting of the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee and other officials that included Tokyo governor Yuriko Koike. He highlighted the success of recent sports events that went ahead without a vaccine, such as the Tour de France. He told the meeting it was not the time to decide whether or not to go forward with the Games, but to instead focus on preparation.

“We should not give in to people who are interested in putting pressure on us and ready to make an announcement (to cancel) now,” Bach said.

Bach told the meeting that sport is coming back slowly but surely, and the IOC could organise sports events safely even without a vaccine. But he said the IOC was also speaking with the WHO and pharmaceutical firms to track the progress of vaccines.

“We have very encouraging news about the development of a vaccine and not only a vaccine, but vaccines…In the first couple months of next year we will have different vaccines, they will be available in very considerable doses,” Bach said.

The Tokyo Olympics, originally scheduled for this summer, were postponed for a year because of the Covid-19 pandemic.