The U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee announced that it will require every member of its delegation to be vaccinated against COVID-19 at 2022 Beijing Olympics.
In a policy dated Tuesday and posted on Team USA website, at the beginning of November the USOPC announced its vaccine contract mandate for all employees, athletes and contractors. The organization also said that the mandate will “extend to all members of teams in the United States delegation or hope for future games” from 1 December.
“When we were hopeful that by the time the flame was extinguished at the Tokyo 2020 Games we would remove the COVID-19 restrictions, the reality is that this pandemic is far from over,” said Sarah Hirsh land, CEO of USOPC in a letter from USA TO DAY Sports.
“This step will enhance our ability to provide Team USA athletes and staff with a safe and productive environment and allow us to restore consistency in athlete planning, preparation and service.”
The new policy was first reported on Wednesday by the Associated Press.
The USOPC strongly recommended that athletes be immunized this summer before the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, but did not. On the day of the opening ceremony, the organization’s Chief Medical Officer Jonathan Finn off said about 83 percent of Team USA athletes reported vaccination, so that nearly 100 athletes did not attend the games.
It is not clear how many team USA athletes were vaccinated at the subsequent Paralympics.
The new Vaccine Mandate of the USOPC will cover all athletes that enter Colorado Springs, Colorado, including their primary training Centre. Athletes may apply for an exemption “for legitimate medical reasons or on the grounds of a sincere religious conviction.” Exempt athletes shall undergo daily COVID-19 testing.
The Beijing Winter Olympics will begin on February 4th, less than six months after the end of the summer games. Many of the same COVID-19 countermeasures implemented by Tokyo organizers are expected to include regular testing and social distance requirements.