Dec 9, 2020 - Sports

Proposing athletes jump the vaccine line

Illustration of a foam syringe a la a sports foam finger

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Some public health experts have suggested that pro athletes should be among the first to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, believing it could engender confidence in those who are hesitant to get vaccinated.

The big picture: Though there was backlash over the summer when it looked like leagues were consuming an unfair proportion of limited testing resources, the benefits of athletes as "vaccine-influencers" may be too great to pass up.

  • Worth noting: Researchers in 2009 found that parents — regardless of political party — became more amenable to getting their child vaccinated for H1N1 after President Obama's daughters got their shots, per WSJ (subscription).

What they're saying:

  • "I have fantasies that we have video of everyone from Dr. Fauci to LeBron James getting their COVID vaccine," said Sandra Quinn, the chair of the family science department at the University of Maryland's School of Public Health.

The bottom line: Former Presidents Obama, Bush and Clinton already expressed a willingness to get vaccinated on TV, which is a great start.

  • Yes, but: Polls show that Black adults are the most skeptical when it comes to trusting this vaccine, making the influencer's demographic of paramount importance.

Go deeper: As thousands of athletes get coronavirus tests, nurses wonder, what about us? (WashPost)

Go deeper