As most professional sports leagues begin or continue their second season during the COVID-19 pandemic, there is now access to COVID-19 vaccines. The main discussion is whether or not players will be required to receive the vaccine. The three sports associations, Major League Baseball, National Football League, and National Basketball Association all have plans on what to do about the vaccines.
Starting with Major League Baseball, vaccines will not be needed to play. There will be a vaccine available to most players that are eligible, whether because of age or prior conditions. However, the league is confident that the precautions from last year are enough to keep players safe, even without all of them getting the vaccine. Already, many players and staff members have gotten the shot. Despite this, many players still lack the opportunity to get the shot. Yankees manager Aaron Boone mentioned, “Certainly, when I’m asked about it, and when I talk to our guys, I’ll certainly encourage it”. Teams will attempt to get most of their players vaccinated. It seems that many players are interested in getting the vaccine, and if not, they will potentially change over time and decide to take the vaccine.
As for the National Football League, there is the same plan as with the MLB. The vaccine will be around for all players to take but not all will need to be vaccinated to play. Many expect that the majority of players will decide to be vaccinated, which will probably halt the postponement of many games, like what happened in the previous season. Football is one of the more high risk sports, due to the low distancing between players, so vaccines will likely help.
Finally, for the National Basketball Association , there is the same hope to vaccinate many of the players. Again, there will not be a penalty to players that do not want to get vaccinated. Like the other leagues, it is anticipated that the players will generally want to get vaccinated as they comprehend the importance and value of the vaccination.
In total, there will be many players that get vaccinated. The select few that choose to not get vaccinated will likely not cause much of an issue, as long as enough people get vaccinated and the older precautions are maintained. The vaccine will also prevent many of the health scares that were present last year.