The Nationals and Houston Astros have informed all full-time employees except players that receiving the COVID-19 vaccine is a new condition of employment, according to multiple reports. Washington notified employees of the mandate Aug. 12 and gave them two weeks to either present proof of vaccination or apply for an exemption.
Though the health and safety protocols agreed upon by Major League Baseball and the players union last spring don’t prohibit a vaccine mandate, no players will be required to get vaccinated under the current directives. The Nationals and Astros are the first two clubs in MLB to order the rest of their employees to get vaccinated.
Washington’s players and coaches have endured two coronavirus outbreaks this year, including one that postponed the Nationals’ opening series with the New York Mets. The club reached the MLB protocol-loosening 85 percent vaccination threshold in May, but it didn’t stop a second outbreak from affecting 13 members of the organization in late July.
ESPN’s Jeff Passan was the first to report on the mandates from the Nationals and Astros.