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Photo: James Matsumoto/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The International Olympic Committee will purchase coronavirus vaccines from China for all Olympic and Paralympic competitors ahead of this summer’s Tokyo Games and next year’s Beijing Winter Games, the organization's president announced Thursday.

Why it matters: The move aims to reassure the public that this summer's Games will not result in a super-spreader event. Polling in Japan is strongly leaning against holding this year's Olympics.

Details: The Olympic committee will cover the costs for any Olympic and Paralympic competitors who still needs the inoculation. Existing international agencies will take care of the distribution.

  • China will also provide two vaccines for the general population in each athlete’s home country for each one given to an Olympics participant.
  • The IOC did not offer specifics about the number of vaccine doses purchased or potential costs, but noted that 270 world championships and world cups have taken place since September 2020, involving more than 30,000 athletes.
    • "[E]ven without vaccinations being widely available, not one of these events had turned into a virus-spreader, providing proof that international sports events with a large number of international participants can be organised while safeguarding the health of everyone," IOC President Thomas Bach said in Thursday's statement.

"Thursday’s announcement ... will help the I.O.C. resolve a sensitive matter that has been one of the many questions hanging over the Tokyo Games: how to ensure that thousands of visitors to Japan from around the world will be vaccinated when they arrive, and how to do so without making it look as if fit, young, elite athletes and their teams have jumped the line while the global death toll from the coronavirus continues to grow," the NYT reports.

Go deeper: 2021 Tokyo Olympics hang in the balance

Go deeper

50 mins ago - Politics & Policy

National parks "drowning in tourists"

Expand chart
Data: National Park Service; note: Gateway National Recreation Area is excluded due to missing data in 2021. Chart: Connor Rothschild/Axios

National Parks across the U.S. are overflowing with a post-pandemic crush of tourists, leading to increased issues with congestion, traffic jams, user experience, strain on staff and increased damage to the parks.

Why it matters: Some are seeing such a record number they're being forced to limit, and even close, access to certain areas to avoid the danger of eroding the land. The result, ultimately, could change the way Americans interact with the parks going forward.

Why Mark Zuckerberg is going meta

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Michaela Handrek-Rehle/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Facebook's "next chapter," Mark Zuckerberg says, is to be prime builder of "the metaverse" — an open, broadly distributed, 3D dimension online where, he says, we will all conduct much of our work and personal lives.

The big picture: Zuckerberg admits Facebook will only be one of many companies building this next-generation model of today's internet — but he also intends Facebook to lead the pack.

50 mins ago - Health

The new mask logic

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

The Biden administration is essentially asking vaccinated Americans to help save the unvaccinated from themselves.

The big picture: America's "pandemic of the unvaccinated" has gotten bad enough that vaccine mandates are starting to catch on, and masks are coming back — in some cases, even for the vaccinated.