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Majority of players on Nationals got J&J vaccine a day before it was paused by Biden administration

Many of the Nationals' players took the Johnson & Johnson vaccine ahead of its series with St. Louis.
Credit: AP
Washington Nationals manager Dave Martinez, left, watches a spring training baseball game against the New York Mets, Thursday, March 4, 2021, in Port St. Lucie, Fla. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

WASHINGTON — Most of the Washington Nationals got vaccinated Monday with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. The vaccinations came just a day before the FDA and President Joe Biden's administration announced a pause of the vaccine amid blood clot issues that's led to one woman's death.

Manager Davey Martinez announced the news before the team’s first game of three against the St. Louis Cardinals on Monday.

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine was given out at the team hotel in St. Louis, said Davey on Monday. This was a joint effort with Major League Baseball and the Cardinals. The plan is to get 85% of the players vaccinated, added the team.

“I’m excited that we all got it and hopefully we can move forward from there,” said Martinez on Monday, before the announcement by the Biden administration on Tuesday.

The idea for the players to get vaccinated comes after the Nationals recent COVID-19 outbreak that saw four players test positive for the virus and put thirteen other players and a staff member on COVID-19 protocol. 

A doctor from Missouri gave the shots to the players. This wasn’t mandatory for players, but the door is still open if more players chose to want to get vaccinated.

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“It gave me a little bit of relief. Only time will tell. We don’t know what kind of reaction the players will get” said Martinez on Monday. “For me it’s the safest way to get through this pandemic. We got offered it and guys stepped up. It was awesome.”

Davey Martinez got his first vaccination shot two weeks ago and will get his second when the team returns to Washington DC later this week. His needing a second shot means Martinez did not receive the J&J vaccine, which is one shot. 

If some of the players have side effects from the vaccine the team said it is prepared to have players fill positions on the field.

“We thought about the side effects. We also thought about the future. If anyone gets sick, we will have to deal with it then” said Martinez.

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The Nationals reported that all eleven of the players that were affected by their COVID-19 outbreak are back with the team. 

The team reinstated first baseman Josh Bell, infielder Josh Harrison and outfielder Kyle Schwarber from the MLB Injured List on Monday, before their game against St. Louis. 

The three players missed almost two weeks of baseball while in quarantine.

"I feel like it's the atmosphere right," said Josh Bell. "I wouldn't wish that on anyone." 

 "There were a lot of words that were said that's not appropriate while missing baseball" added Kyle Schwarber. "This is my opening day now."

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