After trading for two-time all-star Whit Merrifield, the pressing question for the Toronto Blue Jays wasn’t the caliber of the player himself, but what his availability would be due to his vaccination status.
There is “nothing new” to note on that front, interim manager John Schneider said Wednesdayand the team insists it will leave Merrifield to decide how to approach his vaccine choice from here.
“Of course we know he wasn’t there in Toronto, but it’s totally 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 arrived in Toronto from July 14-17, Merrifield was one of 10 players who were notably absent, who had been barred from traveling to Canada due to restrictions put in place requiring cross-border travelers to be vaccinated for enter the country. America has a similar policy for non-residents, although it had no impact on the Blue Jays, as all of their players received the necessary COVID-19 vaccine.
Merrifield has yet to assess his vaccination status since news of the exchange broke Tuesday, refusing to comment to reporters in Kansas City yesterday, according to the team’s communications staff.
Earlier, while discussing the vaccine, Merrifield had said that after the Toronto series he would consider getting vaccinated in the future if doing so would allow him to play post-season.
“Right or wrong, I didn’t do it on a whim,” Merrifield said. “It has been a long process of reflection. Because I understand what Canada has going on right now. This is the only reason I would think of getting it at This point is to go to Canada. It might change along the way. Something happens and I am. happen to join a team that has the opportunity to play in Canada in the post-season, maybe that changes. “
Merrifield hasn’t publicly explained what that thought process entailed, or why he chose not to get vaccinated despite clinical and real-world evidence pointing to the effectiveness of vaccines in reducing the risk of serious illness, hospitalization and death from COVID. 19, particularly when a person stays up to date on vaccinations, with booster shots that further improve protection.
In order for Merrifield to meet the country’s requirements as a fully vaccinated traveler, he must have received at least two doses of a travel-accepted COVID-19 vaccine, according to the latest Canadian government notice, or at least one dose of the Johnson & Johnson Vaccine.
Whichever vaccination regimen is chosen, a person must have received the second dose – or single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine – at least 14 calendar days before entering Canada. This time requirement only applies to a person’s second dose, not the third or fourth dose.
This means that, if Merrifield chooses to get vaccinated with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine today, August 3, the first who would be eligible to play in Toronto would be after August 17, when the Blue Jays host the Baltimore Orioles. Toronto’s next home games this month will come the following week, starting with an August 23 game against the Boston Red Sox.