The United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee’s (USOPC) announcement that all athletes hoping to compete in Beijing will need to be vaccinated against COVID-19 has reverberated around the international community.
Two of the major winter sports countries have now chimed in on the issue, and neither is going as far as the USOPC.
Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) President, Stanislav Alekseyevich Pozdnyakov, said on Thursday that the ROC will recommend the vaccination of all athletes against COVID-19, according to TASS. However, he stopped short of saying that the ROC would make vaccination a requirement.
According to reporting by Reuters, the Norwegian Olympic and Paralympic Committee and Confederation of Sports (NIF) will not require vaccination as a prerequisite to compete at the Games. Norway’s neighbors and fellow winter sports powerhouses, Sweden and Finland, seem likely to take a similar approach.
Many countries, such as Italy and South Korea, took steps to vaccinate the entirety or majority of their Olympic delegations prior to the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) playbooks for Tokyo 2020 recommended the vaccination of delegations, but did not make vaccination a requirement.
The playbooks for the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics are expected to be released in October. The International Olympic Committee’s position on COVID vaccinations for delegations could become known then.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 2.4 billion people have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19. There have been around 5.9 billion doses of vaccine administered at the time of this article being written.
The Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games are due to begin on February 4, though the first competitions are set to start two days prior to that.