The New York Islanders, like many other professional sports organizations, is being thrust into the conversation over whether or not to have their players get the COVID-19 vaccine. It’s a conversation that is being had by companies as well as individual people, especially as states open up the vaccine to more and more people.
Tuesday marked the first day that anyone 16 years of age or older would be eligible to get vaccinated in New York State and the New York Rangers told the New York Post that many of their players and staff “have opted to get vaccinated.”
The New York Mets spent Tuesday providing its players with information about the COVID-19 vaccine in the hopes of encouraging them to take it, and the Islanders are approaching the issue the same way. The Islanders will not be requiring its players or staff to get vaccinated, New York Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello told Newsday, but it is being encouraged.
Lamoriello and head coach Barry Trotz have both been vaccinated already.
“We certainly recommend it, but it’s the decision of each and every staff member, coaching staff, support staff and players as to whether they get it or not,” Lamoriello told Newsday. “We’ll do everything we can but once again, it’s the decision of the individual.”
The vaccine has remained a hot-button issue for some, but the White House is anticipating that nearly half of all adults in the United States will have had their first shot by the end of the weekend, CNN reported. COVID-19 cases have begun to spike recently with fives states, which includes New York, making up 43 percent of all new cases in the country, according to John Hopkins University.
Nassau Coliseum is serving as a vaccination site on Long Island, which would likely making scheduling vaccine shots for team personnel less complicated. Newsday has floated the idea of the Islanders perhaps shooting a PSA encouraging its fanbase to get vaccinated, but it’s unclear if the county or anyone from the state has proposed the idea.
The New York Islanders general manager is supportive of anyone getting the vaccine and by getting vaccinated himself that was his way of endorsing the vaccine.
“I would strongly recommend it and support it and can only endorse it by saying I’ve gotten it,” Lamoriello said.