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WNBA reports 99 percent of league's players are fully vaccinated

The league also says all 12 teams have reached the 85 percent threshold.

The WNBA announced on Monday that 99 percent of its players have been vaccinated for COVID-19 and that all 12 teams have met the 85 percent threshold to be considered fully vaccinated.

The league returned to in-market arenas this season after playing last summer in a bubble in Bradenton, Fla. While travel has increased, the league hasn't had a single positive COVID test since the start of the regular season.

The WNBA's vaccination rate soars above the rest of the major professional sports leagues, which have struggled to get their teams to reach the threshold.

Major League Baseball announced incentives for vaccinated teams prior to the beginning of the 2021 season but just 22 of the 30 teams reached the threshold as of June 16.

Twins shortstop Andrelton Simmons was one of several players to publicly say they declined the vaccine before testing positive on April 14. Two days later, the Twins had the final two games of a weekend series against the Los Angeles Angels postponed after Max Kepler and Kyle Garlick tested positive for the virus.

The National Football League is having a similar struggle where just two teams, the New Orleans Saints and the Miami Dolphins, have reached the threshold. 

NFL players have been more vocal about the issue with Vikings players Adam Thielen and Harrison Smith telling reporters during minicamp that they had not received the vaccine. Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer also said during minicamp that unvaccinated players would have "a harder time" this upcoming season due to the league's restrictions.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver told reporters in April that 70 percent of the league's players have been fully vaccinated but Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul, who is unvaccinated, missed the first three games of the Western Conference Finals after a positive COVID test.

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Vaccination rates for the National Hockey League are not available, but a New York Post report in April stated that players were "more amenable to getting vaccinated than their counterparts." 

Still, St. Louis Blues forward David Perron and Vegas Golden Knights players Bryant Reeves and Brayden McNabb tested positive for COVID during the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The issue even cropped up in the College World Series where North Carolina State forfeited an elimination game after several players tested positive for COVID-19.

With stadiums returning to full capacity nationwide, the issue of athletes getting vaccinated isn't going away soon. The WNBA is one league that has gotten ahead of the game, which should lead to a better product on the court.

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