As the NHL & NBA kick off their seasons, the Friday Focus for this week looked at vaccines and professional sports, and how each of the big 4 leagues are proceeding with their vaccine requirements. The NHL has the highest vaccination participation rate among the four major sports, and yet when the Seattle Kraken started their season on Tuesday night, five players were in Covid-19 protocol. The enacted protocols exemplify that even with a team that is fully vaccinated, it is crucial that teams are still diligent in their testing and safety management protocols to ensure all players can play The team did not specify the exact situation, but it highlights that even with a fully vaccinated team, breakthrough cases can happen and hinder a team's ability to compete.
All four leagues have achieved an +85% vaccination rate by enforcing a very strict safety management protocol as an alternative for players choosing not to get vaccinated, significantly limiting their mobility. While that has surely prevented serious outbreaks from all four leagues, it is crucial that these teams and leagues still establish a robust safety management program for vaccinated players to ensure teams can perform and still stay safe.