‘Majority’ of Detroit Tigers’ players, coaches get COVID-19 vaccines

Detroit Free Press
After the Detroit Tigers secured a 3-2 win Thursday against the Cleveland Indians for Opening Day, members of the traveling party — these people are considered “Tier 1 Individuals” — walked into the clubhouse to celebrate with a COVID-19 vaccine.

A “majority” of the team’s players, coaches and trainers accepted the Johnson & Johnson one-shot vaccine through corporate sponsors McLaren Health Care manager AJ Hinch said. Some family members and other staffers within the organization were vaccinated Friday.

“Obviously, peace of mind across all of us that have now been able to get a shot,” Hinch said Saturday. “The way I look at it is the faster we can do it, the better. … Ultimately, the faster we get vaccinated, the safer we are and the more likely we are to play continuously throughout the schedule.”

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The Tigers set a goal of getting their players and coaches vaccinated before this Friday, when the team begins a 10-game road trip. Travel destinations are Cleveland (April 9-11), Houston (April 12-14) and Oakland (April 15-18).

“I don’t know if we can do it,” Tigers general manager Al Avila said Tuesday about getting the vaccine before leaving Detroit for the road games. “But we’re doing everything possible and working with our medical staff. You know, doing it as quickly and safely as possible.”

[ Getting Tigers the COVID-19 vaccine is more complicated than it sounds ]

With help from McLaren Health Care, and an off day Friday before returning to games Saturday in Detroit, the Tigers accomplished their vaccine plan.

“Obviously, this is a volunteer situation,” Avila said. “The players don’t have to do it. But most of the players, I believe, will. Most the staff will, if not all, and the front office. … The expectation here is to have the majority vaccination before we go on the road trip.”

It’s unclear how many players and staffers received the vaccine. If 85% of players and primary staff members are vaccinated, MLB will alter significant COVID-19 protocols.

USA TODAY: Major League Baseball relaxing COVID-19 protocols for fully vaccinated players, staff

Evan Petzold is a sports reporter at the Detroit Free Press. Contact him at epetzold@freepress.com or follow him on Twitter @EvanPetzold.

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