Report: US-based NHL players starting to receive COVID-19 vaccine

FILE - In this May 16, 2020, file photo, Tina Nguyen, left, a nurse at the International Community Health Services clinic in Seattle's International District, takes a nose swab sample from David Carroll, an ICHS employee, during testing for the coronavirus in Seattle. At a cost of $120-130 per test and NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman’s estimate the league will need 25,000-35,000 in total to get through the playoffs, the price tag he concedes is “millions of dollars.” But regular testing is something players insisted on in the name of feeling safe to compete.(AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)
A "small number" of U.S.-based NHLers are reportedly getting vaccinated as supply increases across the United States. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)

With the COVID-19 vaccine rollout ramping up in the United States in recent weeks, a “small number” of U.S.-based NHL players have started to receive the vaccine, Chris Johnston of Sportsnet reported during Saturday’s ‘Headlines’ segment of Hockey Night in Canada.

“The league's aware of some players who have got it through some circumstances, say the city that they live where it's become available,” Johnston noted. “That hasn't reached the point where it's systematic yet. It's not as though a team has been able to secure a vaccine for all its staff and its players just yet, but this process of getting the league vaccinated is now underway.”

Prior to the start of the 2020-21 NHL campaign, it was reported that the league was planning a private purchase of a COVID-19 vaccine for all people involved with the season. The NHL also made it clear, however, that it would not jump the line in order to secure the appropriate amount of vaccines.

NBA won’t force players to get vaccinated

NBA commissioner Adam Silver recently stated the league will not mandate its players to receive the vaccine. Silver noted that receiving the vaccine is a “personal decision.” The commissioner’s comments came after a report from ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski claimed some of the league’s top stars were hesitant to promote the vaccine in an NBA public service announcement due to safety and effectiveness concerns. It was also reported that some players were reluctant to do the league a favour after it did not cancel the All-Star game, which has received backlash from some of the game’s biggest stars.

NHL arenas in the United States have already begun welcoming fans back as 17 of the 24 American teams are allowed limited attendance capacities. None of the seven Canadian franchises have opened its doors to spectators yet.

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