NHL ‘planning private purchase’ of Covid-19 vaccine ahead of 2021 season

It comes as the FDA moved towards approving the Pfizer vaccine

Justin Vallejo
New York
Friday 11 December 2020 00:13
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The National Hockey League is reportedly planning to privately purchase doses of the Covid-19 vaccine as it gears up for a potential 2021 season.

The claim comes via Canadian hockey broadcaster John Shannon who said in a tweet that the vaccine would be available to all constituents, not just players.

"Source confirms that the NHL is planning the private purchase of a COVID vaccine for all constituents involved in the potential upcoming season," he said.


It comes as the Food and Drug Administration moved toward approval of Pfizer's coronavirus vaccine for emergency use on Thursday night in a 17 to four vote that the benefits outweigh the risks".

This decision does not mean the FDA will automatically grant emergency use authorisation to the company, but it did indicate that Pfizer could likely receive the approval as early as Friday given the panel vote.  

If approved, the distribution would begin within weeks and could be available in time for the start of the 2021 season that media reports have suggested could begin on 13 January.

ESPN reported this week that the NHL and the league's players association were reportedly close to reaching an agreement for the 56-game season to begin in just over a month.

They were said to be negotiating the format of the tournament in either "hubs" or "hybrid bubbles" that could see teams play about 10 games a week over a two-week period before taking a week break and returning for more games.

The availability of an effective Covid vaccine could increase the safety of the NHL tournament, but receiving doses in time for a January start date may require the league's players and constituents going to the front of the line to receive the limited number of initial doses.

The CDC's Advisory Committee for Immunization Practices voted recently on their recommendations for the priority group to receive the first doses of the vaccines, which includes frontline health providers and support personnel, which could likely include nursing homes and long term care facilities.

There are fears that the supply of vaccines will be too limited to meet the initial demand after Pfizer recently announced they weren't able to meet their production goals due to supply chain shortages.

The 100 million doses purchased by the Trump administration's Operation Warp Speed over the summer is enough to inoculate 50 million Americans with the double-dose protocol.

The Independent has contacted the NHL for comment.

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