The U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC) announced Wednesday that Team USA athletes at the Winter Olympics will have to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
Starting Nov. 1, the USOPC will require staff, athletes and others at training centers to be fully vaccinated, according to The Associated Press. The requirement will also apply for future Olympic games as well.
U.S. athletes trying to make the Winter Olympics will have to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 under a directive announced by the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee. https://t.co/jdVTyfTK2d
— AP Sports (@AP_Sports) September 22, 2021
“The stark reality is that this pandemic is far from over,” USOPC CEO Sarah Hirshland wrote, according to AP. “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.”
Athletes will be able to apply for an exemption to the vaccine mandate, according to the AP.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has yet to require COVID-19 vaccinations, but many national Olympic committees have implemented a vaccine mandate, AP reported. (RELATED: ‘No Shaking Hands … No Hugs’: Olympic Committee Announces Drastic New Changes For Athletes Winning Medals In Tokyo)
At the Tokyo games, roughly 83% of Team USA was vaccinated in time for the Olympics, the AP reported. The IOC estimated that roughly 85% of total athletes living in the Olympic village were vaccinated.