The Japanese government has agreed to receive from U.S. pharmaceutical company Pfizer Inc. COVID-19 vaccine doses for an additional 20,000 workers involved in the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, Olympic minister Tamayo Marukawa said Tuesday.
With the total number of donated vaccinations for Olympic-related staff doubled to 40,000, Japan has expanded its vaccine eligibility to volunteers who will be working at the athletes village, members of the organizing committee and domestic media.
"We will work with people in charge to make the vaccine process as smooth as possible," Marukawa said.
Marukawa also said the vaccination program for Tokyo Games workers will begin on Thursday at the Ajinomoto Training Center in Tokyo's Kita Ward, where members of the Japanese Olympic delegation began receiving their shots on June 1.
Last month, Marukawa said the International Olympic Committee teamed with Pfizer to offer approximately 20,000 people involved in the games, including athletes, technical officials and interpreters, vaccines free of charge.
Despite public pressure to cancel or postpone the Tokyo Olympics, the government is making final preparations to host the rescheduled games opening July 23.
The IOC says it anticipates 80 percent of athletes will be vaccinated by the time the games begin.