The Japanese government is aiming to complete COVID-19 vaccinations for all athletes representing the host nation at this summer's Tokyo Olympics by the end of June, sources close to the matter said Wednesday.
The government has been coordinating with the Japanese Olympic Committee about the vaccines, which will be provided by U.S. pharmaceutical giant Pfizer Inc. to participants from national Olympic and Paralympic committees around the world.
At a press conference on Wednesday, Mark Adams, spokesman for the International Olympic Committee, said his organization estimates a "large majority" of the people staying at the athletes' village during the Tokyo Games will be vaccinated.
With less than three months until the opening of the Olympics, Tokyo has been under a coronavirus state of emergency since late last month and is struggling to bring down the number of infections. The Japanese government last week extended the emergency measure until the end of May.
Adams expressed support for the measures taken by Japan to manage infections. Speaking to a press conference held following a meeting of the IOC's executive board, he said the Olympics will open as planned on July 23.
"As things stand at the moment, and as we talk to our Japanese partners and friends, we are moving full ahead. There has been a small extension of the emergency situation but we plan for full games," he said.
However, the Tokyo Games have not drawn much public support from Japanese people amid concerns over the virus.
Opinion polls have shown the majority of the people are not in favor of the games. An online petition launched last week calling for the cancelation of the Olympics has received over 300,000 signatures.
"We take note of public opinion," Adams said. "We think that at this stage, the games can go ahead and I think you will see, when they do go ahead, and when there is an amazing moment, that will be reflected in public opinion in general."
"As with all organizations, we have to pay attention to public opinion but not be totally driven by it."
The roughly 30-minute press conference ended with a man, who participated in the event as a reporter, protesting against the Olympics with a banner before being cut off.
The IOC said last week it signed an agreement with Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech SE to donate doses of the vaccine. The distribution is expected to begin in late May, and individuals will need to receive two doses in a space of three weeks.
The Japanese Olympic athletes are to be vaccinated mainly at the National Training Center in Tokyo, while the Japanese Paralympic Committee is moving to have athletes vaccinated between June and July.