Every WNBA team has met the threshold for being considered fully vaccinated as 99% of the league’s players are fully vaccinated, the WNBA announced on Monday.
It is yet another example of the league and its players leading the way since the number is the highest of any reported for the major professional leagues in the U.S. so far. It is in line with the WNBA Players Association’s focus on public health this season through its social justice council.
WNBA leads leagues in vaccination rate
There have been zero positive COVID-19 tests of new players, the league reported, in addition to the vaccination numbers. They are much higher than any other major pro league at the moment.
A reported 65% of NFL players have received at least one shot. Three teams have reportedly reached 85% overall vaccination. NBA commissioner Adam Silver said in April more than 70% of players received at least one shot. No team had revealed its roster to be at least 85% vaccinated, which would loosen league protocols.
The MLB commissioner’s office and players’ association said last week 23 teams have reached the 85 percent vaccination rate and that 85.4% of tier 1 and tier 2 individuals are fully vaccinated. There are no clear available numbers for the NHL or NWSL.
There have been positive COVID-19 tests in the NBA, NHL and MLB over the past weeks.
While at IMG Academy last summer for the bubble season, there were zero positive COVID-19 tests. There were seven positive tests during the initial quarantine period upon arrival to Florida in July.
Public health pillar of WNBA’s social justice
Public health is one of the WNBPA’s three social justice pillars to focus on this season alongside LGBTQ+ advocacy and racial justice/voting rights, executive director Terri Jackson told Yahoo Sports last week.
Teams and arenas have hosted vaccine clinics in the first six weeks of the season and players such as Sue Bird have volunteered at vaccination clinics. Players on the WNBPA’s leadership team also led a Q&A with doctors on their Instagram Live last spring.
Around the same time, the league’s biggest stars filmed a COVID-19 vaccine PSA that went live in April titled “Our Health is Worth a ‘Shot.'”
Layshia Clarendon, A’ja Wilson, Nneka Ogwumike and Elizabeth Williams urge Black women to make sure they receive the vaccine because of underlying conditions that make Black women twice as likely to die of COVID-19.
Their support of getting the vaccine was important because of hesitancy in the Black community ahead of its release. While there are people of all demographics inclined to put off receiving the vaccine, institutional racism and historical inequities in health care also play a key role in the Black community.
Nearly 70% of WNBA players are Black and nearly 25% are Latina.
As of Friday, 56% of the 18-and-older population is fully vaccinated, the New York Times reported. Overall in the 40 states that report racial/ethnic data, the percent of white people receiving at least one COVID-19 dose (46%) is approximately 1.4 times higher than that of Black people (33%) and approximately 1.2 times higher than Hispanic people (38%), per the Kaiser Family Foundation.
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