On Tuesday, U.S. Olympics authorities unveiled a coronavirus vaccine mandate for all American participants at the coming 2022 Beijing Winter Games.
US Olympic & Paralympic Committee said that all athletes, staffers, and contractors would be required to be fully vaccinated by November 1 to qualify to attend the games. The USOPC added that “all Team USA delegation members or hopefuls for future Games” must be fully vaccinated by Dec.1.
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“The health and well-being of our Olympic and Paralympic community continues to be a top priority,” the committee said in a statement according to the New York Post. “This step will increase our ability to create a safe and productive environment for Team USA athletes and staff and allow us to restore consistency in planning, preparation, and optimal service to athletes.”
The committee also noted that exemptions would also be allowed for medical and religious objectors. However, those granted exemptions will undergo daily testing during the games and follow other strict protocols.
CEO Sarah Hirshland insisted that the pandemic “is far from over” and claimed that the new requirements are the only way to assure safety.
BEIJING, CHINA – APRIL 10: Flag bearer tidying up the national flag at the award ceremony during a Para Ice Hockey test event for the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics at National Indoor Stadium on April 10, 2021 in Beijing, China. A “Meet in Beijing” ice test event for the 2022 Winter Olympics will be held from April 1-10. (Photo by Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)
“This step will increase our ability to create a safe and productive environment for Team USA athletes and staff and allow us to restore consistency in planning, preparation, and service to athletes,” Hirshland wrote.
This is the first time the USOPC has mandated complete vaccinations for participants. About 83 percent of participants for the Summer Games in Tokyo were vaccinated.
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