During a press conference on Monday, Nationals manager Davey Martinez discussed the news that Josh Bell, Kyle Schwarber and Josh Harrison were re-joining the team following its COVID-19 outbreak, finally putting Washington at nearly full strength.
Martinez, however, also had some news of his own to share. On Monday, a large amount of Nationals players received the coronavirus vaccine in St. Louis before beginning a series with the Cardinals.
“Today we had, most of our guys got vaccinated. Thanks to MLB and the Cardinals it was a joint effort. The guys that wanted to get vaccinated got vaccinated today so we’re elated about that as well," Martinez said. "For the most part we all got vaccinated, so we’re going to move forward.”
Martinez, who has been vocal about his support for the vaccines, got his first dose a couple weeks back and will be receiving his second dose once the team returns home. He noted that all the players that opted to get the vaccine on Monday were given the one-dose Johnson & Johnson shot.
The manager explained that he was unsure if the team has reached the 85% threshold for players vaccinated that would allow for some relaxed COVID-19 protocols but stated that the organization will continue to work toward that goal.
The availability of the vaccine for players came at a convenient time for the Nationals, as the team is finally at the other end of a coronavirus outbreak that sidelined 11 players to begin the season.
“Seeing what happened to us, we were able to get this done today and we had a lot of guys participate and get their vaccinations," Martinez said.
Not every player chose to get vaccinated on Monday, something Martinez understood given that it is a personal choice. Moving forward, he will be respectful of the decisions everyone in the locker room makes.
“Everybody has their own opinion about the vaccination, and I think we all looked at it that way. So the guys that want to get vaccinated had an opportunity to get vaccinated today, they did," Martinez said. "And those guys that didn’t get it, the opportunity is still there for them.”
The vaccine is known to provide some side effects following the shot, meaning that players could experience some pain in the arm or other symptoms in the hours or days following the vaccination. While that may potentially impact availability, it's something Martinez is prepared to work around.
The main priority was getting the players vaccinated to avoid more severe problems in the future.
“Obviously, we thought about it, but we also thought about the future going forward with these guys and being vaccinated. I think it’s more important that we got the vaccination when it was our turn and the day we were able to get it," Martinez said. "And then if anybody gets sick or something, we’ll have to deal with that.
“I’m excited we all got it and hopefully we can move forward from there."