Unvaccinated Phillies’ Realmuto: ‘I’m not going to let Canada tell me what I do’

By Lucas Casaletto

The Philadelphia Phillies will be without J.T. Realmuto, Alec Bohm, Aaron Nola and Kyle Gibson during a two-game series in Toronto due to Canadian restrictions on unvaccinated travellers.

Realmuto spoke at length about his decision not to vaccinate against COVID-19, saying he talked to a few doctors he knew who advised him against a shot. He also said forfeiting just over $260,000 USD was worth not being vaccinated.

“I’m not going to let Canada tell me what I do and don’t put in my body for a little bit of money,” said Realmuto, a three-time All-Star. “It’s just not worth it.”

“I’m a healthy, 31-year-old professional athlete,” Realmuto added.

“I didn’t feel the need to get it. I’ve had COVID a couple of times, super mild symptoms, back when it first came out. When it came time to decide whether I needed a vaccine or not, I talked to a couple of doctors that I knew and told them my story and really decided I didn’t think I needed it. I wasn’t going to take it just because I was told to, basically.”

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Kyle Gibson revealed Saturday that he’s unvaccinated against COVID-19, citing medicine he takes for ulcerative colitis, an inflammatory bowel condition (IBD).

“The medicines I take don’t let me build up antibodies,” the pitcher said. “So I don’t have a vaccination.”

Crohn’s and Colitis’s Canada encourages patients with IBD to receive a full series of COVID-19 vaccines, “given the potential for benefit and the low risk of harm, particularly in regions with high transmission of the virus.”

“People with IBD who are using immunosuppression therapy should not delay subsequent doses of their COVID-19 vaccine beyond the time recommended by the manufacturers,” the organization wrote online.

Bohm told reporters on Monday that he wished his “personal choice” didn’t affect the whole team.

“Yeah, that’s the difficult part of it,” Bohm said.

“I wish it didn’t have to be like that. It’s a personal deal. I’ve made a choice, and there are consequences that come with that, and I have to suffer those. It is what it is.”

The two-game series starts tonight at Rogers Centre. The Blue Jays have lost nine of their last ten games.

With files from The Associated Press

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