As per a report by hockey insider John Shannon on Thursday, he writes on Twitter: “Source confirms that the NHL is planning the private purchase of a COVID vaccine for all constituents involved in the potential upcoming season.” So, what exactly does this mean?
Source confirms that the NHL is planning the private purchase of a COVID vaccine for all constituents involved in the potential upcoming season.— John Shannon (@JShannonhl) December 10, 2020
Essentially, the NHL is ensuring that it has enough doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to cover their needs this coming season and ensure that the few thousand they want won’t get stuck in line behind others as the logistics of giving to 300 million people a vaccine takes time. And, while this is going to helpful for the NHL and ensuring its players don’t get sick, there is a bit of a morality issue at play here.
When the NHL developed the playoff “bubbles” and when a vaccine wasn’t an option, the league made sure to make it clear that their intention was never to take away testing capacity from the public system. They might not be able to argue the same if it’s perceived they spend big money to ensure their players are given a priority. And, because sports don’t need to be happening, it’s difficult to argue for any situation that could potentially take vaccines from front-line workers who need the protection, kids or teachers who go back to school or other people and places where society can better function if vaccines are administered.
It might be a stretch, but one could make the argument that athletes are influencers and if they publicly take a vaccine and it’s proven to work, keeping the NHL and other sports leagues operational without issue, it could encourage others to take the vaccine when they might be hesitant. Because athletes are role models and influencers, their active use could make a difference.
There’s a large portion of people who may be reluctant to take it and if its proven to be effective, may do the right thing if they see their favorite hockey player has.
At the same time, if a number of NHLers refuse to take the vaccine, it have the opposite effect from that theory.
Because of reaction to the news, Shannon later reported:
For clarification… The NHL is interested in securing vaccine when and if it’s available for private purchase. Is it at this point? — no. The league also is adamant they would not jump the line to do so.