Major League Baseball clubs have begun to mandate that all non-playing employees receive vaccinations for the flu and other ailments. The decision, which was made by the Houston Astros and Washington Nationals, is part of a broader effort to combat the spread of infectious diseases in professional sports.
The nationals world series is the first Major League Baseball team to mandate that all nonplaying employees receive a vaccine.
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According to ESPN, the Houston Astros and Washington Nationals have made vaccination a condition of employment for all non-playing full-time workers, making them the first two clubs in Major League Baseball to do so.
According to a source acquainted with the Astros’ policy, they were the first club to demand mandatory immunization for both their big league squad and the three minor league teams they control.
The Nationals informed workers earlier this month that they would need to provide evidence of immunization or provide a medical or religious exemption to avoid getting the vaccine. The proofing deadline was set for Thursday.
Exemptions will be vetted until September, and workers who do not have an exemption or evidence of vaccination will be dismissed. A spokesman for the Astros refused to comment.
The Nationals sent the following statement to ESPN: “The Washington Nationals, like many other companies, chose to make COVID-19 vaccinations obligatory for all full-time employees. Employees were informed of the policy on August 12 and given until August 26 to produce evidence of complete immunization, proof of first shot, or request for an exemption. We believe that as a business, we have a duty to do everything possible to keep our workers and community safe, and that requiring vaccinations was the proper thing to do for our employees and community.”
Vaccine requirements in professional sports in North America have been much more common than in baseball. Multiple NHL clubs have made vaccination obligatory for all workers, and the NBA said on Friday that a broad variety of employees, including coaching, front-office, and medical staffs, as well as anybody who may contact with a player, would be required to be vaccinated.
Vaccination programs are in place at many NFL clubs, and the league has suggested a vaccine requirement for players, which the NFL Players Association has opposed.
Vaccination rates vary depending on where baseball is played. Around three-quarters of clubs have surpassed the 85 percent level of Tier 1 workers, which includes players, coaches, medical staff, and others, which is required to relax COVID protocol limitations.
The commissioner’s office of Major League Baseball has a required vaccination policy, and commissioner Rob Manfred stated during the All-Star Game, “I’m a believer in immunization. I realize that people have different opinions. I hope everyone gets vaccinated.”
Because of the collective bargaining agreement that regulates the player-team relationship, neither the Nationals, who have had two COVID-19 outbreaks in their clubhouse this season, nor any other team can compel players to be vaccinated. “I believe [it] would be a good thing for us generally,” Manfred said when questioned about a vaccination requirement for players. “But, you know, [we] work through with the people that represent the union.”
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