Within the last few hours, Novax Djokovic has been forced to withdraw from the US Open because of his decision not to get vaccinated against COVID-19. This is despite him having natural immunity via his previous infections. This is despite him being one of the fittest men on the planet and so extremely unlikely to die from COVID-19. And this is despite vaccinated individuals being just as likely to catch and transmit SARS-CoV-2.
The CDC recently relaxed many of its Covid guidelines after they acknowledged that “most Americans have returned to many aspects of pre-pandemic life”. Therefore, the guidelines needed to be meeting people where they already are. “For public health to be trusted, it has to be seen as relevant, and if the guidance from the CDC is too far apart from people’s everyday behavior, it won’t be trusted.”
In light of the changes, many thought the CDC would also relax its entry requirements. Unvaccinated non-residents were hopeful that the rules would change to reflect the non existent entry requirements in much of the rest of the world. Djokovic himself was hopeful that these changes would happen and last month said he was hoping “for some good news from USA”.
So why haven’t the CDC followed the rest of the world and changed entry requirements in time for Djokovic to compete in the US Open?
Could it have anything to do with the fact that the US Open’s latest sponsor is none other than Moderna?
Although Moderna has "done other sports deals," the biotech company's U.S. Open tie-in "marks its most extensive sponsorship to date," according to E.J. Schultz of AD AGE. The goal of the sponsorship -- and a "new broader marketing push" -- is to "educate people about how the company is using mRNA for other potential medical breakthroughs that could be used to treat people with cancer, metabolic diseases and other afflictions." The sponsorship comes as Moderna "leverages a new endorsement from Billie Jean King."
The sponsorship is to “educate people about…mRNA”. Could they risk letting someone who is against having a mRNA vaccination win the tournament? Would this undermine their intended message and have the opposite effect?
If Moderna have pressured the CDC not to change the entry requirements then not only are they trolling Djokovic but also any unvaccinated person who cannot enter the US. It would be unthinkable that friends and families could still not reunite due to Moderna not wanting to lose face.
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