Rick Westhead, who has done lots of great reporting, had an illuminating tweet yesterday:
Doctors say they suspect pro sports leagues are exploring private purchases of Covid-19 vaccines and the Public Health Agency of Canada tells me it can’t stop Pharma companies from selling their vaccines to a “private enterprise."— Rick Westhead (@rwesthead) December 10, 2020
I think that the initial reaction to that for many people is one of distaste. Vaccines are a phenomenal development in our ongoing quest to conquer COVID-19, but there are very real production and logistics hurdles that (to my uneducated eye) make it seem like demand for these will vastly outstrip supply initially. As such, there is a great case that we, as a global society, need to make sure these vaccines are getting to the people who need them most as quickly as possible.
Rich, generally healthy athletes, are nobody’s idea of falling into that bucket, so the idea of them ‘jumping the line’ so to speak, is one that does not come across well to many. For what it’s worth, some insiders clarified this talking point, and provided a bit of damage control.
My understanding is this wouldn’t happen for a few months, and NHL –like its stance on buying tests this summer–wouldn’t step in front of public need.— Emily Kaplan (@emilymkaplan) December 11, 2020
Also, while NHL can make vaccine available to players, league would have hard time mandating vax given NHLPA needs to approve https://t.co/kewOiZqY6Q
For clarification...— John Shannon (@JShannonhl) December 11, 2020
The NHL is interested in securing vaccine when and if it’s available for private purchase.
Is it at this point? — no.
The league also is adamant they would not jump the line to do so.
There are many reasonable questions about whether it’s possible for the NHL to buy and administer doses of this vaccine, both from a cost perspective, a CBA perspective (the PA would have to approve, and there’s probably a non-negligible chunk of it who thinks the vaccine will let Bill Gates control them), and a timeline perspective (Pfizer already has a bajillion agreements and only so much production capacity).
However, it’s also worth noting that for all the feeling of distaste that this story may provide, essentially anyone in Canada has already ‘jumped the line’ in a global equity sense. There are conservatively, billions of people in the world who are at higher risk of contracting COVID-19 and suffering serious consequences from it than I will. I’m an able-bodied, mid-20s male, with access to good health care and no pre-existing conditions. I am, and should be, at the back of the line in Canada. But basically everyone in Canada is at the front of the line globally. The Canadian government purchased millions of doses for its citizens — that’s what it should do, as an entity that aims to serve the needs of its citizens. But in a global sense, it’s hardly fair that a rich country can secure the bag before the rest of the world, and in particular, parts of the developing world whose economies and labour forces are used by rich countries as a manufacturing centre. So it’s worth noting that the NHL exploring options to secure their own health, possibly at the expense of others, however distasteful it may seem, is not much different to what we have already done as a country.
From the Front Page
As usual, lots of content on the front page. Omar takes a look at what the Leafs did in the prior shortened year, and what we can expect in a higher variance season this time around. Seldo profiles a trio of prospects in our WT25U25, and Katya summarizes the state of the Canadian teams.
Around the NHL
The biggest headline in the NHL is probably the vaccine news that I led off the FTB with. Kyle Okposo shared his thoughts on it too.
Weggmv😭👊🏼chigh Ohhhhh zzziiwea1huhjugjgg)322)2— Kyle Okposo (@bookerT2116) December 10, 2020
Weggmv indeed, Kyle.
Here are the rest of the news topics
Golden Knights owner shuts down reports of Max Pacioretty being shopped
‘I need help’: How friends saved former NHL All-Star Mark Parrish
Report: NHL won’t restrict trades between Canadian, American teams
Happy Friday, folks.