May 14, 2021 -- The New York Yankees have reported eight “vaccine breakthrough” cases, in which a person tests positive for COVID-19 after being fully vaccinated, including shortstop Gleyber Torres.
Torres, three coaches and four members of the support staff tested positive. All eight received the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine, the team said on its Major League Baseball website. Only one person is showing symptoms, the team said.
Torres was held out of the game Wednesday night against the Tampa Bay Rays in St. Petersburg, FL, because his COVID test results were pending, the Yankees said. He was later confirmed to have tested positive.
Torres had COVID in December. The decision to not play him was made on the advice of the Joint COVID-19 Health and Safety Committee, which is composed of one MLB representative, one representative from the players association, and two doctors.
The CDC has addressed the occurrence of breakthrough cases.
“COVID-19 vaccines are effective,” the CDC says. “However, a small percentage of people who are fully vaccinated will still get COVID-19 if they are exposed to the virus that causes it. These are called ‘vaccine breakthrough cases.’
“This means that while people who have been vaccinated are much less likely to get sick, it may still happen…There also is some evidence that vaccination may make illness less severe in people who get vaccinated but still get sick.”
Third-base coach Phil Nevin, first-base coach Reggie Willits, and pitching coach Matt Blake are quarantining in Tampa, FL, the team said on its official website. The four support staff members were not identified.
The Yankees are among five MLB teams to vaccinate more than 85% of its Tier 1 staff, defined as players and staff having direct contact with players.
Reaching that threshold allows a team to enjoy relaxed safety protocols, such as going without masks in the dugout or bullpen, indoor dining, and receiving visitors at the team hotel, The New York Times said.
Seven other teams could hit the 85% vaccination mark after the 2-week waiting period ends, the Times said.
“One of the good things about being vaccinated is that we are blunting the effects of this virus,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “I feel like, in a lot of ways, because we’re vaccinated, we’re good and we’re able to deal with this.”