Report: Astros, Nationals Make COVID-19 Vaccine Mandatory for Non-Playing Employees

Paul KasabianFeatured Columnist IIAugust 27, 2021

The Houston Astros celebrate after defeating the Boston Red Sox in a baseball game Wednesday, June 9, 2021, in Boston. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
AP Photo/Michael Dwyer

The Houston Astros and Washington Nationals became the first two MLB teams to mandate that all non-playing full-time employees receive the COVID-19 vaccine, per ESPN's Kiley McDaniel and Jeff Passan.

Houston was the first team to do so, and its policy applies to its three minor league teams.

The Nationals told employees earlier this month that they needed to prove they were vaccinated or provide a medical or religious reason for opting out. Employees who did not show proof of vaccination or provide a valid exemption by Thursday will be terminated.

The Astros reportedly told employees in a July 29 email that they would be terminated if they did not comply with the policy, per Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle.

Jesse Dougherty of the Washington Post confirmed the ESPN report. The Nats also provided a statement on the matter via Maria Torres of The Athletic: "As a company, we have a responsibility to do everything we can to keep one another safe and felt that mandating vaccines was the absolute right thing to do for our employees and our community."

The Astros and Nats both had COVID-19 outbreaks this year.

Five Houston players landed on the COVID-19 injured list in mid-April: Jose Altuve, Yordan Alvarez, Alex Bregman, Robel Garcia and Martin Maldonado.

Washington had four players and eight staff members test positive for COVID-19 in late July, per ESPN.

Major League Baseball stated in June that 23 teams (players and on-field personnel) had reached the 85 percent vaccination threshold, per the Associated Press.