xml:space="preserve">
xml:space="preserve">
Advertisement
Advertisement

Members of Orioles organization receiving excess coronavirus vaccines in Florida: ‘It’s a big priority for us’

In his final spring training inning before starting on Opening Day, Orioles left-hander John Means issued two walks and gave up a single to load the bases, then surrendered a double to clear them. Those four base runners represented double the number he had allowed in his first three innings of work Saturday against the Atlanta Braves.

The fade in performance, Means said, was a result of the fatigue he felt after getting vaccinated for the coronavirus earlier in the day.

Advertisement

“I just got a little tired there in the last inning,” Means said. “That was a long inning, and I’ve just got to get through the symptoms, and I’ll be good to go.”

Means said he and a handful of the teammates received doses Saturday “just to get it out of the way.” Orioles executive vice president and general manager Mike Elias said some members of the team, currently in Sarasota, Florida, wrapping up spring training, have received the vaccine on their own because of medical circumstances. But the organization has also been offered and accepted excess vaccines that would otherwise go unused, Elias said.

Advertisement
Advertisement

“We think it’s important that as many shots get into as many arms as possible,” Elias said. “We want to see everyone in our organization stay healthy. Eventually, we want our entire organization to be vaccinated. It’s a big priority for us, so I think this is something you’re seeing when there’s excess supply made available that people should make use of them.”

Vaccine doses must be kept at certain cold temperatures to remain effective, and if they go unused too long once thawed, they can go to waste. With a desire to make sure no doses get wasted, clinics often provide those inoculations to whoever they can, regardless of eligibility.

With vaccine demand outweighing supply nationwide, states have allowed only certain residents to be vaccinated based on their age, health status or occupation, a group that doesn’t include professional athletes. President Joe Biden has directed states to make all of their adult residents eligible by May 1. In Florida, those aged 50 and older, working in certain fields or with certain medical conditions are eligible. Maryland plans to make all of its adult residents eligible for vaccination by April 27.

The tiredness that Means, 27, said he experienced is a common post-vaccination symptom, as is pain in the injection site in the upper arm. Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said after the game Saturday that he was “unaware” Means was experiencing side effects from getting vaccinated. Hyde, 47, added Sunday that he himself has been vaccinated.

Advertisement

“I do encourage our players to get vaccinated,” Hyde said. “I know the league is behind it and our ownership’s behind it.”

Major League Baseball’s 2020 season was shortened from 162 games to 60 because of the coronavirus pandemic, with fans unable to attend games until late in the postseason. The Orioles have announced they will welcome 11,000 fans, or about 25% of Camden Yards’ capacity, per game to start the season; those in attendance are not required to be vaccinated but must wear a mask at all times unless actively eating or drinking at their ticketed seat.

Only a handful of players across the league have publicly reported getting vaccinated, with Tampa Bay Rays right-hander Collin McHugh and New York Mets right-hander Carlos Carassco — a cancer survivor — among those who have. Although getting vaccinated seemed to slow Means in his start Saturday, he said he fully expects to be ready for his Opening Day start against the Boston Red Sox on Thursday.

“Tomorrow, I’m sure I’ll feel pretty good and keep going,” Means said.

Recommended on Baltimore Sun

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement