Bach offers pep session for Tokyo Games and talks up vaccine

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Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike, right, reacts before an on-line meeting focused on how to pull off the delayed Tokyo Games, in Tokyo, Thursday, Sept. 24, 2020. IOC President Thomas Bach delivered a pep talk to Japanese government officials and local organizers on Thursday that included suggestions that hundreds of millionsof doses COVID-19 vaccines would be available before the postponed Olympic are to open on July 23, 2021. (Du Xiaoyi/Pool Photo via AP)

TOKYO – IOC President Thomas Bach delivered a pep talk to Japanese government officials and local organizers on Thursday that included suggestions that “hundreds of millions” of doses COVID-19 vaccines would be available before the postponed Olympics open in July.

Bach was speaking from Switzerland in an on-line gathering of officials in Japan during the first of two days of meetings focused on how to pull off the delayed Tokyo Games.

Bach pointed out that major sports events like the Tour de France have been held with limited fans and without the vaccine. But he said a vaccine — or vaccines — could be ready for Tokyo, although he gave few details.

“We have very encouraging news about the development of a vaccine — and not only a vaccine, but vaccines,” he said.

Bach added that the International Olympic Committee was in contact with the World Health Organization and other “experts" and unnamed pharmaceutical companies. He said they were "unanimous" in saying that a vaccine will be available at the beginning of next year.

“In the first couple months of next year we will have different vaccines." Bach said. “They will be available in very considerable doses.”

Bach said this could amount to “hundreds of millions of doses being available already in the first half of the next year.”

A handful of vaccines already are in final testing in the United States and other countries, and hopes are high they might be ready by the end of the year. Bach has previously said he was also in contact with Chinese pharmaceutical company Sinovac.