LETTER from JODI PLIMPTON-WERSTEIN
To the Editor:
Last week, parents of athletes looking to attend the Cooperstown Dreams Park experience this summer, were notified that in order to participate, they will be requiring proof of vaccination for anyone 12 years old and up. Anyone under 12 years old, simply has to provide proof of negative test (however, they did not give a timeframe for how recent that test needed to be).
As you can imagine, there is MASSIVE backlash from parents for this decision, and timing of notification, as well as the numerous things grossly wrong with these requirements. First, and foremost, there is not even a vaccine available or approved for use in anyone under the age of 16. At this point, there is only ONE vaccine available for 16- to 18-year-olds, and ZERO available for anyone younger than that. So, they are putting a requirement for play, that is completely unattainable. That’s like saying the grass needs to turn purple in order for anyone to be able to attend. Those that were able to get through to CDP yesterday, and speak to someone about this egregious plan, state that CDP told them that they will be taking the summer on a week by week basis, and if the vaccine isn’t available for an upcoming week, then they will simply cancel that week and move onto the next one.
Leaving people out all of their entry money, travel expenses, lodging expenses etc, and they claim that they are FIRM on this policy.
CDP also stated that they have been given ZERO direction from the NYSDH in regards to their recommendations for opening, and therefore they came up with this plan themselves. To be clear, All Star Village has stated that they absolutely will NOT be mandating Covid-19 vaccination for their players and families.
On the flip side of that, should a vaccine become available (for 12- to 15-year olds) in the near future, they are now putting parents in a position to decide between breaking their child’s heart by denying them a lifelong dream of playing at Cooperstown, or give them a vaccine that is still in its infancy, with no real data regarding long-term effects or efficacy. I can tell you, based on comments made online, that the VAST MAJORITY of parents have ZERO intentions on vaccinating their children, and certainly not in a rushed situation just so they can play at Cooperstown.
When a vaccine is approved under the Emergency Use Authorization, it is against the law to mandate it, because they are basically saying “Hey, here’s this vaccine we think will work well, but we haven’t studied it long enough to know if there will be any negative long-term effects.” But now Cooperstown Dreams Park is trying to force that on parents, and that is FLAT OUT WRONG. Not just force it on them, but also deny them any kind of refund should a vaccine not even be available, and/or parents refuse to give it to their young athletes.
For those that would consider giving it to their child, the timeframes for the first few weeks wouldn’t even add up. It’s one shot, then wait two weeks for the second, and then it’s weeks after that before it even reaches its “effective” point. Again, CDP has put impossible stipulations on play, and it’s wrong.
This is definitely worth looking into, as this not only affects the players and their families, but it also affects all of the local businesses that rely on the tourism created by those traveling to Cooperstown for this experience.
Lee County, Fla.
Editor’s Note: Pfizer and BioNTech are seeking emergency FDA authorization for COVID-19 vaccines for 12- to 15-year-olds, which may clear the way for Dreams Park to open on schedule.