The NHL issued a warning for fans Thursday to wear face masks for the flu vaccine because of the growing number of cases, though they noted there are no data showing any health risks.NHL teams have started handing out the free flu shot to players who are not yet immune to the virus.
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said in a statement Thursday that teams have seen no evidence that people who have not yet had the flu have been exposed to the H1N1 virus and that the teams have been asking all players to get tested every week until the season starts.
The league is asking fans to be patient and not rush to get vaccinated, but for those who are, Bettman added.
If you have any concerns about wearing a mask, visit the league’s website or call 800-632-7242.
Bettman said the vaccine is only 100 percent effective in preventing H1Ns.
He also said he was not going to make recommendations on whether fans should not wear masks, just as he was when he said last month that he didn’t believe flu shots were effective in protecting people from H1NS.
While Bettman says players are not necessarily getting vaccinated immediately, he did say Thursday that in the past two weeks, the league has notified 10,000 players of their potential exposure and asked them to contact their health care provider and receive medical attention.
The league’s response comes a day after the commissioner issued a directive to the league offices across the country saying players have the right to contact team health care providers to report any suspected infection, including those who wear masks.
Bett and players have both called for the vaccination campaigns to continue until the coronaviruses season is over.
The NHL has set up a hotline, 7-1-1, to help players who haven’t yet received their shot and those who may not have gotten their shot.