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Japan x Vaccination: How the Country Is Racing Against the Clock Before The Olympics

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Casper Libero chapter.

Sport has the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire, it has the power to unite people in a way that little else does. […] Sport can create hope where once there was only despair” – Nelson Mandela

The Olympiad was an event, held 2800 years ago in ancient Greece. It was an athletic festival dedicated to the worship of the gods and the propagation of peace among the cities of the country. In 1892, Pierre de Frédy, a French educator and historian, decided to resurrect the old tradition and created the modern Olympic Games to seek peace among nations and unite us all in a sporting celebration. Baron Pierre de Coubertin also created the symbol of the Olympic Games, five rings to represent the union and solidarity between the world’s five continents  

On April 6, 1896, happened the first Olympic Games in Athens, Greece. Since then, the Olympics have only been interrupted twice, during the first and second world wars, and has become the biggest sporting event on the planet, with more than 200 countries. The games of the 32nd Olympiad were planned to happen in 2020 in Tokyo, but for reasons of greater forces (coronavirus cough cough), the games were postponed and will happen between July 23 and August 8.

To get ready to be the host of the 2020 Olympic Games, Japan is racing against time to make it happen as safely as possible. After a careful approval process, currently, vaccines available in Japan are from Pfizer and Moderna. The vaccination control is being done like this:

1. The local government sends a “vaccination ticket (coupon)” and a “Notice for COVID-19 Vaccination“. The Vaccination is given in a certain order based on age and other factors;

2. When the vaccine is available, it’s necessary to find a medical institution or a place available for vaccination and check the available time and other information provided to make a reservation;

3. On the day of the reservation, you must present the “vaccination ticket” and the ID document. The same procedure must be done for the second dose. 

Until now, only 20% of the population is partially immunized. According to Leonardo Ghiraldello, a Brazilian resident of the province of Miyazaki since 2018, the opinions of the Japanese population are divided. Based on his conviviality with a small group of people, he observed that there are groups who don’t know if they trust the vaccine and others who don’t trust it at all. Even living in a small town where there aren’t so many infected cases in the region, he is not in favor of having spectators during the games. “About the virus infection, my opinion is that there shouldn’t be an audience, especially considering that the games will be held in Tokyo, which is the area that has suffered the most from the increase in coronavirus infection, even in the middle of the vaccination campaign”.

The Organizing Committee of the Olympic Games of Tokyo, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, and the Japanese Government have decided together that the Olympic games can receive the public if it obeys the limit of 50% of a venue’s capacity, a maximum of ten thousand people.

For now, the competition schedule remains the same, the spectators must use masks all the time and take all necessary precautions requested by the Japanese parties. If something goes out of control other priority prevention measures will be implemented. Guidelines were elaborated to ensure safe and secure environments for spectators. If necessary, the Japanese parties can cancel or reduce the audience and establish new safe ways to cheer and support the athletes.

According to the United Nations, “sport is a fundamental right, a powerful tool to strengthen social ties and promote sustainable development and peace and well as solidarity, and respect”. I hope that the Olympic Games have the power to give us strength and hope to overcome this terrible humanitarian crisis that the world is still going through. 

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