Team USA staff members and athletes will have to be vaccinated against COVID-19 to take part in the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee has announced. “While we were hopeful that we would be lifting our COVID-19 restrictions by the time the flame was extinguished at the Tokyo 2020 Games, the stark reality is that this pandemic is far from over,” Sarah Hirshland, the committee’s CEO, was quoted saying in a letter cited by the Associated Press. The letter notes that the vaccine requirement will “extend to all Team USA delegation members or hopefuls for future Games.” Proof of vaccination will have to be provided by Dec. 1. The committee had encouraged vaccinations ahead of the Summer Games, but stopped short of making them a requirement. The Winter Games begin on Feb. 4.
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