Professional athletes shouldn’t jump the line for vaccine

January 14, 2021 — by Justin Guo
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With the approval of multiple COVID-19 vaccines, many are wondering when and how they can get them. While many agree that essential workers and those at risk such as the elderly should be given priority over the general public, it gets a bit hazy when it comes to the world of professional sports. 

Like many others, professional athletes do not have the luxury of being able to work from home. But what separates them from others in similar situations around the world is their worldly presence and influence. 

As such, the primary argument for letting professional athletes skip the line is that they would encourage the general public to also get vaccinations. Additionally, with the 2021 Olympics in the distance, some think athletes should get vaccinated ahead of time to begin more effective in-person training.

With this all being said, though, I don't think athletes should get access to the COVID-19 vaccine before the public does because, truly, they aren’t essential workers. Even though I’m an avid NBA basketball fan, when it comes to what’s really important for adjusting back to pre-COVID times, I’ll be the first to admit that healthcare workers, police officers, teachers, restaurant employees and the like are at the top of the list. Professional athletes should begin to receive the vaccine only after these essential workers have been taken care of.

I’m also not entirely convinced by the argument that professional athletes getting vaccinated will encourage the public to also get vaccinated. Most people already want to get vaccinated anyway, so they can go back to their jobs, traveling or being lazy with their friends as second semester seniors. And I’m sure anti-vaxxers will come up with more reasons to continue holding onto their beliefs.

But the more fundamental reason professional athletes shouldn’t be allowed to skip the line is that most are doing well financially, to say the least. Between the NBA, MLB, NFL and NHL — four of the biggest sports leagues in the U.S. and Canada — the median salary in 2020 was about $4 million, according to Statista

I love sports as much as the next person, but it doesn’t make sense for professional athletes — who have access to daily COVID tests, are well-off and stay in tip top shape — to receive the vaccine before the general public.