PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A Philadelphia youth baseball team is pulling from the Cooperstown Dreams Park tournament this summer. The Roxborough Outlaws made the decision to withdraw from the tournament after Cooperstown Dreams Park announced it is requiring all players, coaches and campers ages 12 and older to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, when it becomes available for adolescents, in order to participate in its 2021 tournaments.
Cooperstown Dreams Park is in Cooperstown, New York and is known as the “Greatest Tournament In America.” It offers a high caliber of play for kids 12 and under.READ MORE: Police: Co-Worker Naheem Williamson Arrested In Tyree Roundtree's Murder Over $1,500 In Construction Wages
The park says the decision is the “only responsible course of action at this time to prevent a camp shutdown and displacement of families due to COVID-19.”
“All participants, coaches and campers 12 years and older must be immunized. Immunization requirements: COVID-19 (campers under 12 years of age are exempt, but must provide a negative test upon arrival), diphtheria, haemophilus influenza type b, hepatitis b, measles, mumps, rubella, poliomyelitis, tetanus and varicella a/k/a chickenpox. Cooperstown Dreams Park is hopeful that the vaccines will be available a minimum of twenty-one days prior to any registration date,” a press release said. “Cooperstown Dreams Park will, if necessary modify registration date by registration date until a vaccine is available for 12 year olds and older.”
At this time, there are no COVID-19 vaccines approved by the FDA for children under 16.
Earlier this month, Pfizer announced that it has submitted a request to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to expand emergency use of their COVID vaccine for kids that are 12 to 15 years of age. Pfizer said 2,260 children ages 12 to 15 took part in their phase three trial. In late March, the company announced that it completed its findings on children in that age range, calling its vaccine 100 percent effective against COVID-19.
Meanwhile, Moderna is studying the effectiveness of its COVID-19 vaccine on kids ages 6 months to 17 years old.
The American Academy of Pediatrics says the timing for when the vaccine will be available for kids depends on the results of the clinical trials. The organization says it may be possible to have a vaccine for some children and teenagers before the 2021-2022 school year.
Outlaws head coach John Hack tells Eyewitness News that he called Cooperstown Dreams Park after receiving an email about the vaccine requirement.READ MORE: AP Source: CDC To Ease Up Guidance On Indoor Mask-Wearing For Fully Vaccinated People
“They said if your state and New York state, either one, was allowing 12-year-olds to get the vaccine you could play the date you picked to come up,” Hack said. “If not they would just keep pushing you back week to week. If it was going to happen at all, they were giving us the opportunity to go back up at another, later date this year before the summer was over. And I told him I don’t think that’s going to happen.”
The Outlaws coaches met with parents and they decided to pull from Cooperstown and find another tournament for the children to play in.
“We looked into certain parks and we’re going to head down to Tennessee to Pigeon Forge, Cal Ripken,” Hack said, “We’ve read about it and it seems like that’s the next closest experience to Cooperstown.”
The team as a whole will lose out on $4,000 — the $1,000 down payment and the $3,000 second installment. Hack says the Roxborough tournament team goes to Cooperstown every year and he has a lot of 11-year-olds who will qualify for 2022.
Parents are expected to get their down payments back for lodging since that is all they have put down so far.
“It was very hard to tell my son he wasn’t going to Cooperstown,” one parent with the Outlaws said. “He watched older family members go and now it was his turn and he can’t go. He loved the pin trading, meeting kids from other parts of the country, and wanted his turn to stay in the barracks and make memories with his friends/teammates.”
Hack says it was a tough decision to pull from Cooperstown because everyone knows it’s “the Disney World of baseball.” But one parent told him, “They’ve never been up there, they don’t really know what they are missing.”
So the Outlaws coaching staff and parents are going to make their trip to Tennessee memorable for their young sluggers.MORE NEWS: Portion Of Kelly Drive To Close Friday Morning Until Saturday Evening For Stotesbury Regatta
Eyewitness News reached out to Cooperstown Dreams Park for clarification regarding the latest release but has not heard back.