Good news for 2021 WSOP? Vaccines may soon be available for everyone

Jon Sofen
Published by:
Posted on 02/14/2021

There’s a glimmer of hope for the 2021 World Series of Poker after Dr. Anthony Fauci shared some positive news with the American public. The nation’s leading virologist and chief medical advisor to President Joe Biden recently said he expects everyone in the U.S. to have access to a COVID-19 vaccine by April.

How is that positive news for the WSOP? The series operating on time, or at all, likely boils down to having a vaccinated population. Without at least half the population being immune to COVID-19, it’s difficult to foresee any possibility of such a large gathering event.

“I would imagine, by the time we get to April, that will be what I would call, for better wording, ‘open season’ — namely, virtually everybody and anybody in any category could start to get vaccinated,” the U.S. government’s top infectious diseases expert said during an appearance on NBC’s “Today” show.

In more positive news for those hopeful to compete in the 2021 WSOP, President Biden on Thursday signed a contract for Moderna and Pfizer, two of the three companies with approved vaccines, to each produce 100 million additional doses. Biden claims the U.S. will have enough doses to vaccinate the entire 340 million population.

Fauci said his target date to vaccinate everyone who wants it is the “end of summer.” He cautioned viewers that it will take months after the shots become available to everyone before hundreds of millions of people actually get vaccinated.

Moderna and Pfizer both require two shots to reach immunity, one 2-3 weeks after the first. Those vaccines are said to have about a 95 percent efficacy rate. Johnson and Johnson’s one shot vaccine, which recently became available, has an expected 85 percent efficacy rate. At this time, patients aren’t able to choose the vaccine they want, in most cases. But as supply becomes more readily available in the coming months, that will likely change.

What’s in store for the 2021 WSOP?

In most years, the full WSOP schedule would have already been released by February. This year is a bit different considering Caesars Entertainment doesn’t even know for sure if they’ll be permitted to host the series.

If the series does run in Las Vegas, the normal state date is late May with a mid-July end date. If Fauci is correct in his prediction that April will be “open season” for the COVID-19 vaccine, that’s still pushing it for the WSOP to begin in late May.

Poker players need time to make travel arrangements, and just because the vaccine is available doesn’t mean citizens will get it right away. As Fauci also said, it could be late in the summer before most get the shot.

Even if the WSOP is unable to run at its normal time of year, the fact that vaccines will soon become available to the masses could save the 2021 series. Perhaps starting the event a month or two later, or even in the fall, would be viable. That all depends on if the WSOP staff determines that players will show up if they push it back.

Either way, there’s a glimmer of hope for the poker community. After losing out on a live World Series of Poker in 2020, things could be different this summer (or fall).

Featured image source: Flickr