After trading for Whit Merrifield, a two-time all-star, the pressing question for the Toronto Blue Jays was not the caliber of the player himself, but what his availability would look like given his vaccination status.
There is “nothing new” to report in that area, interim manager John Schneider said on Wednesdayand the team insists it will be left to Merrifield to decide how to approach his vaccine choice from here.
“Of course we know he wasn’t there in Toronto, but it’s all up to him,” Schneider said. “And I’m sure he’s had conversations with his family and other people. So, you know, we’ll leave that decision to him.”
When Kansas City came to Toronto from July 14-17, Merrifield was one of 10 players who were noticeably absent. They were not allowed to travel to Canada due to restrictions placed on mandatory vaccination for cross-border travelers to enter the country. America has a similar policy for non-residents, although this has not affected the Blue Jays as all of their players have received the required COVID-19 vaccine.
Merrifield has yet to review his vaccination status since the news of the trade came out Tuesday and declined to comment to reporters in Kansas City yesterday, according to the team’s communications officers.
Earlier, when discussing the vaccine, Merrifield said after the Toronto series that he would consider getting vaccinated in the future – if it allowed him to play in the postseason.
“Right or wrong, I didn’t do it on a whim,” Merrifield said. “It’s been a long thought process. Because I understand what Canada has in store right now. That’s the only reason I would consider it at this point is to go to Canada. That could change later. Something happens and I happen to be in a team that has the chance to play in Canada in the post season, maybe that will change.”
Merrifield has not publicly explained what that thought process entailed, or why he chose not to get vaccinated, despite the clinical and real evidence pointing to the efficacy of vaccines in reducing the risk of serious illness, hospitalization and death from COVID-19. 19 – especially when a person stays up to date on their vaccinations, with booster shots further enhancing protection.
To meet the country’s requirements as a fully vaccinated traveler, according to the most recent advice from the Government of Canada, he must have received at least two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine accepted for travel, or at least one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
Whichever vaccination schedule is chosen, a person must have received their second dose – or the single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine – at least 14 calendar days before entering Canada. This timing requirement only applies to a person’s second dose, not their third or fourth dose.
That means if Merrifield chose to be vaccinated with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine today, Aug. 3, he would not be eligible to play in Toronto until Aug. 17, when the Blue Jays beat the Baltimore Orioles. to organize. Toronto’s next home games this month come the following week, starting with an August 23 game against the Boston Red Sox.