Twenty Major League Baseball teams are eligible to relax their COVID-19 protocols after confirming 85% of their Tier 1 personnel have been fully vaccinated.
A person is considered fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving their final dose of an FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccine. Two more clubs will join that tally in the coming days since 85% of their personnel have received their final injection, but the two-week waiting period has not expired, MLB said in a news release.
Teams who qualify for relaxed protocols may go maskless in the dugout and bullpen. They may also enjoy fewer restrictions on mobility for away games.
As of June 4, 85.2% of all MLB Tier 1 personnel has received at least one dose of a vaccine and 82.9% are considered fully vaccinated.
Aside from vaccinating its players and staff, MLB has been a major proponent of the American vaccination effort. Many ballparks have served as mass vaccination centers, administering more than 1.5 million shots.
The league is among the major brands partnering with the Biden administration to combat vaccine hesitancy.
In addition to Friday’s news about its progress vaccinating personnel, MLB announced a new league-wide program to incentivize COVID-19 vaccinations with free tickets.
MLB Vaccinate At The Plate will take place throughout June. In that time, each of the 30 MLB teams will offer fans a free ticket to a game if they get a COVID shot at the game.
A detailed view of an official Major League Baseball with a surgical mask placed on it sitting on the dugout during the Detroit Tigers Summer Workouts at Comerica Park on July 5, 2020, in Detroit, Michigan.
"Major League Baseball wants to play a role in expanding widespread adoption of the vaccines which have proven to be safe and effective," said Dr. Gary Green, MLB’s medical director. "As more people get vaccinated, the rate of infection decreases and more areas of society can safely reopen. We are proud of the efforts MLB Clubs are taking to help in this effort."
This story was reported from Atlanta.