Cards pass 85 percent threshold for vaccine

March 31st, 2021

The Cardinals were hopeful to have doses of the single-shot Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine available to them when they arrived in Cincinnati on Monday night. Manager Mike Shildt confirmed on Wednesday that at least 85 percent of the club’s traveling party was able to receive the vaccine.

The club hopes that some steps back toward normalcy will soon follow.

“We have a number that we met, and it creates some freedoms,” Shildt said. “[We're] excited by the fact that we have this ability to play, but also make sure that everybody feels like they had their medical [and] individual choices, and there’s no judgment to it. I hope it’s not an issue moving forward. We did reach it. Those that did it, great. Those that didn’t, that’s great, too.”

Clubs were informed on Monday that MLB and the MLBPA have agreed to relax certain health and safety protocols contained in the 2021 Operations Manual for fully vaccinated Tier 1 Individuals and for clubs where 85 percent of their Tier 1 Individuals are fully vaccinated. As part of that memo, players and staff were again strongly encouraged to receive one of the approved COVID-19 vaccines when eligible.

Members of the Cardinals' traveling party included the following Tier 1 individuals: players, coaches, trainers and some front-office members, among other staffers. All were given the choice to receive the vaccine this week.

The Cardinals are the first team with a publicly known amount of organizational members vaccinated, though other teams around the league have similar plans or have individual vaccinations already underway.

St. Louis, which endured a two-week-plus pause last season due to a COVID-19 outbreak, opens its 2021 season against the Reds in Cincinnati on Thursday.

“I'm excited for our country, the fact there's an opportunity to get a vaccine that allows us to maybe get back to more normal things that allow us to enjoy life a little bit more, enjoy each other a little bit more,” Shildt said on Monday. “... I am grateful, man. We're going to have fans at Busch Stadium; we're going to have fans at different ballparks. It's what we play for, us to share our game with people that love the game with us.

“And so I'm excited for the season to get started. I'm glad we're playing a complete season. I'm glad it looks like there's a possibility for things to open up for our country and for our sport, and for our team to have more freedoms and enjoyment with our game. I'm ready for our team to play. I'm excited.”