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Vaccine slam dunk: Nearly every WNBA player has been immunized against Covid-19

Nearly halfway through the season, no one has tested positive in the 12-team league.
A'ja Wilson #22 of the Las Vegas Aces is greeted on the court by her teammates before their game against the Seattle Storm on June 27, 2021, in Las Vegas.
A'ja Wilson (22) of the Las Vegas Aces is greeted by her teammates before a game against the Seattle Storm on June 27 in Las Vegas.Ethan Miller / Getty Images

The WNBA, halfway through its season, has had no player test positive for Covid-19 so far, and nearly every player has been fully vaccinated, the league said Monday.

Since "99 percent of the league's players are now fully vaccinated," all 12 clubs "have met the threshold for being considered a fully-vaccinated team," the league said in a statement.

The WNBA began its regular season on May 14, and is set to run through Sept. 19.

The WNBA's numbers put it just ahead of the MLB, which announced Friday that 23 of its 30 clubs have reached an 85-percent threshold of full vaccination.

Once a team reaches 85-percent vaccination, that triggers relaxed protocols for players and other on-field personnel.

Overall, MLB and its players union said that 85.4 percent of tier 1 and 2 tier individuals had been fully vaccinated.

Despite that encouraging vaccination data, the pandemic is still looming large over major North American sports, both professional and collegiate.

The Tampa Bay Lightning and Montreal Canadiens are facing off in the Stanley Cup finals starting Monday night, but ongoing Covid-19 concerns have limited Montreal's home crowds to just 3,500 during this playoff run.

On Saturday, North Carolina State's baseball team was removed from the College World Series because of a Covid-19 outbreak.

The NCAA does not require athletes, coaches and team staff to be tested for Covid-19 if they are fully vaccinated and show no symptoms. Those who are not vaccinated must be tested at NCAA championships.

Hours before the announcement early Saturday, North Carolina State coach Elliott Avent refused to say if he had encouraged players to be vaccinated. He used the word "indoctrinate" in discussing vaccines.

“My job is to teach them baseball, make sure they get an education and keep them on the right track forward,” the coach told reporters. “But I don’t try to indoctrinate my kids with my values or my opinions. Obviously, we talk about a lot of things. But these are young men that can make their own decisions, and that’s what they did.”

NC State was one win away from reaching the championship round when its season came to a sudden end.