Editor's note: With overwhelming consistency, research has shown vaccinations against COVID-19 are safe and effective. Residents of Canada who are looking to learn more about vaccines, or the country's pandemic response, can find up-to-date information on Canada's public health website.
New Jersey Devils goaltender Mackenzie Blackwood confirmed Tuesday he's the lone unvaccinated player on the team.
Blackwood did not rule out getting the vaccine eventually, but explained he'll take his time to decide.
“I have a couple of health concerns and health reasons why I’m working through it a little slower," said Blackwood according to ESPN's Greg Wyshynski. "I wanted to check off a couple of boxes, and not rush to do it."
“I’ve not decided one way or the other whether I’m doing it. I’m taking a little bit of extra time.”
The Devils announced they had one unvaccinated player when training camp opened last week, but chose not to reveal his identity. The Athletic's Corey Masisak reported Friday they hoped he would reverse his decision and get the vaccine.
Blackwood, 24, is an essential player for the Devils who's expected start in goal for the upcoming 2021-22 season. Last season, he played 35 games in the shortened 56-game campaign and posted a .902 save percentage. In 2019-20, he played 47 games and recorded a .915 save percentage.
If he decides not to get vaccinated, Blackwood will be ineligible to play in Canada under the current rules. The Devils play north of the border nine times, beginning Dec. 3 in Winnipeg. Blackwood will have to be vaccinated at least two weeks before that date in order to feature in that game
“First and foremost is health," Blackwood said on not getting vaccinated. "Second of all the social impact it has on my teammates and myself. I care about every single person in that dressing room and I would never want to put them in a situation where I put them in a position to lose."