US Olympic Athletes Must Have COVID-19 Vaccination for Beijing Winter Games

Kimberly Redmond  |

Video source: YouTube, Reuters

Athletes vying to represent the US at the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing must be vaccinated against COVID-19, the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC) said Wednesday.

Under the newly-announced rules, starting Nov. 1, the USOPC will require staff, athletes and others utilizing training centers and other USOPC facilities to be vaccinated.

Olympic hopefuls must show proof of vaccination by Dec. 1, and Team USA plans to send nearly 240 athletes to Beijing for the games scheduled for February 2022.

USOPC chief executive officer Sarah Hirshland said, “The stark reality is that this pandemic is far from over.” 

“This step will increase our ability to create a safe and productive environment for Team USA athletes and staff, and [enable] us to restore consistency in planning, preparation and service to athletes.” 

Exceptions will be allowed for medical and religious reasons, according to the USOPC. 

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has not announced any vaccine mandate for the Beijing Games.

In advance of the long-delayed 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo, the IOC encouraged vaccines but did not require them for athletes. Most national Olympic committees, including the USOPC, followed suit by strongly recommending the shots but not issuing a mandate.

In Tokyo, an estimated 85% of participants who stayed in the Olympic Village were vaccinated, while 83% of US athletes were vaccinated.

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