WHO director general Dr Tedros Adhanom met with Thomas Bach at Beijing 2022 where vaccine equity was high on the agenda ©IOC

The IOC revealed that the meeting took place after Tedros ran with the Olympic Torch on Friday (February 4), the day of the Opening Ceremony. The WHO official has been present at the last two Olympic Games, where he has sought to promote vaccine equity.

Tedros was invited to give the keynote speech at the IOC Session in Tokyo last year prior to the re-arranged Summer Olympic Games last year, where he expressed hope the Games could “ignite the solidarity and determination” needed to end the COVID-19 pandemic. “The Olympics are about, hope, solidarity, unity and peace,” Tedros said.

“Especially ‘hope’ to end this pandemic. “I hope we will achieve the 70 per cent vaccination in each and every country around the world by mid this year, and hope the acute phase of the pandemic will be over, so that people will come together like always.” The WHO has also partnered with sporting organisations such as the International Paralympic Committee and FIFA during the pandemic, promoting sport and healthy lifestyles.

The IOC said Bach used to meeting to confirm the IOC’s support to the WHO goal of achieving 70 per cent vaccination in each country. “We have been given a way forward with a safe and effective vaccine that can help save precious lives,” Bach said. “Let us all join hands in giving free and equal access to the vaccine for everybody across the world to pledge our collective responsibility to protect those who are the most vulnerable, because everyone on this planet has a right to live a healthy life.