LOS ANGELES — As of Thursday, nearly 20 percent of the U.S. population – more than 65 million people – has been fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Millions more have received the first of two shots to protect them against the coronavirus.
Motivated at least in part by the incentive of relaxed health and safety protocols when a team reaches 85 percent of Tier 1 individuals (players, coaches and staff in direct contact with players) vaccinated, a growing number of MLB players and team personnel are joining the ranks of the virally protected.
On their way from spring training in Florida to their season opener in Oakland, the Astros made a stop in Houston where healthcare workers from Houston Methodist Hospital were available to vaccinate any interested member of the Astros’ traveling party.
The St. Louis Cardinals had a similar group vaccination availability before their opener in Cincinnati. The New York Yankees had healthcare workers vaccinating players and staff before and after their home game Wednesday night.
Both the Cardinals and Yankees reached the 85 percent threshold. Angels manager Joe Maddon said last week that the Angels were “already over” 85 percent vaccinated.
After a two-week waiting period following full vaccination, players can look forward to less frequent testing, family members traveling with them and no quarantining of vaccinated players if they are exposed to someone who tests positive – a measure that could lessen the impact of situations like the Washington Nationals’ outbreak that forced the postponement of three games at the start of the season.
The Milwaukee Brewers even filmed a public service announcement, showing former MVP Christian Yelich and other players getting their shots and encouraging everyone to do the same.
The Dodgers, meanwhile, have been all but silent.
“I think we kind of keep those things in the clubhouse,” Dodgers outfielder Mookie Betts said when asked about the vaccine recently.
“These are all personal decisions for guys. They’ve got to do what’s best for them and their families. Obviously, we are all a team. But that vaccination, that whole situation is a personal decision. So I’d like to leave it in the clubhouse.”
The age limit for eligibility to receive the vaccine in California is expected to be lowered to 16 next week (April 15) and the Dodgers, who have cooperated by letting L.A. County use Dodger Stadium as a testing and vaccination site throughout the pandemic, have been sensitive to any perception of “jumping the line” by arranging vaccinations for players. But the vaccine was much more available in Arizona during spring training and a number of the Dodgers’ front-office members took advantage of that to get their first shot (or both).
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts has said he received his first shot and was “all in” on getting vaccinated. His players, apparently, have needed some nudging.
“We’ve had conversations (with players and staff),” Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said. “We’ve handed out materials that were created by MLB and the (MLB)PA and some similar materials and have had a lot of various conversations with people respecting …read more
Source:: Los Angeles Daily News
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