20,000 Olympic participants to get free vaccines

Japan's Minister for the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games says the US pharmaceutical firm Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech will donate coronavirus vaccine doses for about 20,000 people, including Japan's athletes and staff for the Games.

Marukawa Tamayo on Tuesday told reporters that the International Olympic Committee had suggested that the Tokyo organizing committee consider inoculations for athletes and people who will be working with them.

She said she will work with the organizing committee so that referees, interpreters and other staff members who will be in close contact with athletes can be vaccinated.

The minister also referred to a recent comment from IOC Coordination Commission chair John Coates in which he said the Games will take place even if Tokyo remains under a state of emergency.

Marukawa said it is natural for the Japanese people to object to this comment. She went on to say that it is important to take all anti-infection measures, so people will feel safe about hosting the Games.