Cubs catcher Willson Contreras and fellow Chicago athletes have teamed up with the city to raise awareness for the COVID-19 vaccine.
"Everybody makes a choice," Contreras said prior to Friday's game against the Cardinals. "I made my choice to support the campaign."
Along with Contreras, Roquan Smith (Bears), Connor Murphy (Blackhawks), Patrick Williams (Bulls), Robert Berić (Fire), Kayla Sharples (Red Stars), Diamond DeShields (Sky) and Tim Anderson (White Sox) are part of the campaign.
"I feel like I need to protect my family first, and the way I protect my family is getting the vaccine," Contreras added. "I know this is a personal choice and I try to talk to people about it."
Contreras is one of the few Cubs known publicly to be vaccinated, along with Adbert Alzolay, Javy Báez, Kris Bryant, manager David Ross and team president Jed Hoyer.
The Cubs have so far failed to reach the 85-percent vaccination threshold MLB requires of Tier 1 personnel to relax health and safety protocols. Tier 1 personnel includes players, coaches and support staff.
MLB and the MLBPA announced Friday 14 clubs have hit the threshold. An additional two clubs have reached the 85-percent threshold of Tier 1 personnel receiving the second vaccine dose to be considered fully vaccinated within the next week.
Among the relaxed protocols are exemptions to quarantine requirements for vaccinated players exposed to COVID-19, unless they are exhibiting symptoms, and eased masked wearing and the use of contact tracing devices.
Hoyer expressed disappointment over the Cubs' lagging vaccination numbers on Thursday.
“I think we're at a place right now, candidly, where — I'm not going to give up hope that we can get there — but my level of optimism is waning," he said.