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Milwaukee Brewers: Role Models For COVID-19 Vaccine Adoption?

Player Keston Hiura
Screengrab by Chuck Quirmbach
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In the Brewers new public service announcement, player Keston Hiura prepares to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

The Milwaukee Brewers have joined the local organizations that are promoting the COVID-19 vaccine.

One thing the baseball team has done is release a pro-vaccine public service announcement, featuring players Christian Yelich, Brent Suter, Freddy Peralta and Keston Hiura.

"Let's crush COVID, Milwaukee," the players say in the video, speaking English or Spanish.

The Brewers also say they set up a vaccination site at American Family Field last weekend for the players. Team members who agreed to be vaccinated were given the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which only requires one dose.

Among those who say they got a shot is relief pitcher Brent Suter. Suter revealed during a news conference that he and his wife had COVID-19 a couple months ago. Suter said it was like having a medium flu for 10 days.

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Screengrab by Chuck Quirmbach
Brewers pitcher Brent Suter also appears in the team's new video promoting acceptance of the COVID-19 vaccine.

"I've been sicker in my life but I had never been that out of it for that long. And, my wife was more like a bad cold for ten days. We both lost our taste and smell for about two weeks," Suter said.

The Brewers won't reveal how many of their players got vaccinated, other than saying it was a "good chunk." Elsewhere, some major league players have said they don't want a shot, and the Washington Nationals have had several games postponed because a player was exposed to COVID-19.

Suter said the Brewers players have been talking about the vaccine. He described the conversations as respectful.

"Really enlightening, both ways, in terms of coming to an understanding, getting peoples' concerns and really kind of mistrust of this and that. It became very engaging," Suter said.

Suter said a doctor came in and answered questions about the vaccine. And, he said the physician did a great job.

If 85% of players and coaches with dugout access to games are vaccinated, they'll no longer need to wear face masks in dugouts or bullpens or wear contact tracing devices while in team facilities. They can also dine at indoor and outdoor restaurants, and eat and drink freely during team travel.

The Brewers endorsement of the vaccine came the same day as all Wisconsin residents age 16 and older become eligible for a shot. Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett admits he hopes the baseball players will influence young people to get a shot and head off another major increase in COVID cases.

"One of the things we're seeing right now is a concern for a fourth surge that is primarily focused on young people. Young people not getting vaccinated. And so, having the role models, the professional athletes—they make a living taking care of their bodies— it make sense for you to get it as well," Barrett says.

Social scientists have said it'll take someone vaccine opponents personally trust to convince them to get a shot. The Wisconsin Department of Health Services Monday reported another 300 new confirmed cases of COVID-19.

People under age 40 have made up about half of the 580,000 cases reported in the state since the pandemic began.

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