According to the Maple Leafs and Raptors, some players and staff have received the H1N1 vaccine, but both teams deny jumping the line for shots.
Under considerable pressure to say whether their players have been vaccinated against the virus, the Leafs issued a statement saying they were only following medical protocol by having their players injected.
“Any vaccine supplies received were obtained through normal distribution and no preferential treatment was requested nor received,” the statement from spokesman Pat Park said in part.
The Leafs’ stablemates at the Air Canada Centre, the Toronto Raptors, made a similar statement in an email to the Star.
“We are operating with a heightened awareness of influenza and taking appropriate precautions. While all professional athletes are considered high risk to exposure and transmission of the flu due to excessive contact with other players, heavy travel requirements and public exposure, only certain players and staff have received the H1N1 vaccine,” wrote Raptors spokesperson Jim LaBumbard in an email to the Star on Wednesday.
“Consistent with other medical information or cases, this information is considered private and confidential.”
LaBumbard wrote that the Raptors’ medical staff procured the vaccine “through normal distribution and no preferential treatment was requested nor received.”
In recent days, the Calgary Flames have come in for criticism after they revealed that team members had received H1N1 shots. Alberta Health Services said Wednesday it has fired a senior staff member over the controversy. It wouldn’t name who has been dismissed, but said it was wrong to give the hockey players preferential treatment.
The H1N1 vaccine has been in short supply across the country, with only high-risk members of the general public allowed access to the shots.
According to Toronto Public Health, those in the high-risk category for contracting H1N1 are pregnant women, children between six months and 5 years old, people under 65 with chronic health conditions and health care workers. Those who have received the shot have often waited in line for hours to do so.
Tyler Bozak, who plays for the Leafs farm team, missed two games when he came down with a flu, suspected to be the H1N1 virus. The Marlies rookie was quarantined from his teammates but is now back with the team.
Members of the Toronto Blue Jays returned home when the baseball season ended a month ago. The team has no plan or directive in place as regards the flu shot.
“The (team) medical staff … has worked to educate our players regarding this issue and making recommendations that they receive the vaccine,” said Jays spokesperson Jay Stenhouse. “The decision on whether to receive the vaccine rests with the individual player.”
Designated hitter Adam Lind, who spends the winter in Muncie, Indiana, says he has no plans to get the shot.
“I am worried about (H1N1), but I’ve had vaccines before and I end up getting sick from the vaccine,” Lind said Wednesday. “But every time I get back to my house, I wash my hands.”
according to thestar.com