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Aaron Boone: Yankees nearing 85 percent vaccination mark among players, staff

The New York Yankees will soon reach the 85% COVID-19 vaccination rate, manager Aaron Boone revealed this week. Hitting that benchmark would mean the Yankees would satisfy MLB’s requirements for relaxed COVID-19 heath and safety protocols.

“I’m very optimistic we’ll get to that point very soon,’’ Boone said Wednesday, per the New York Post. “It’s a matter of when we got that opportunity, which I know is coming.”

Boone also said a handful of pitchers who weren’t expected to play in Wednesday’s tilt with the Baltimore Orioles were vaccinated before the game. Other players, meanwhile, received their vaccine shots after the team’s 4-3 loss.

“It was an exciting day in that regard,’’ Boone said of the vaccinations.

The Yankees have a scheduled off day Thursday, which would allow players who were vaccinated to determine whether any short-term side effects occur following the shot.

Boone, who also was recently vaccinated, indicated the team brought in doctors to educate players and staff on the wisdom, not to mention safety, of getting inoculated against COVID-19.

“We’ve had our doctors and some of us who have gotten the vaccine … talk to the guys and I know it’s been one of the topics of conversation around the club,” Boone said.

Interestingly enough, the crosstown rival Mets did a similar thing this week after team president Sandy Alderson admitted that “there has been some hesitation on the part of some players” on the team over whether to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. The Mets are slated to have medical staff on hand at Citi Field Thursday to administer vaccination shots for those who want them.

Major League Baseball, as is the case with the NBA as well, has incentivized receiving COVID-19 vaccines for teams. A joint memo from MLB and MLBPA distributed to teams late last month encouraged all players and staff to “receive one of the approved COVID-19 vaccines where eligible.”

As noted, teams that reach an 85% vaccination rate among its Tier 1 members (players and those who come in close contact with them like coaches, managers and trainers) will see a loosening of health and safety protocol measures and restrictions.

Weakened protocols would include team members no longer having to wear masks in dugouts and bullpens. Further, vaccinated players would not have to be involved with any contact tracing measures should a member of the club test positive for COVID-19.

Concerning the vaccinations, the Yankees indicated in a statement that the “process has been seamless and efficient, and we are grateful that by receiving the vaccine, we can contribute to stopping the spread of COVID-19.”