Broadway show off limits to those who got AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine

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The show must go on, but if you’ve been vaccinated with AstraZeneca and want to attend one particular live theatre production on Broadway don’t bother buying a ticket.

Producers of the soon-to-be-launched Springsteen on Broadway show said they are not welcoming anyone who was inoculated with the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine.

When the curtain rises on June 26, becoming Broadway’s first post-shutdown production, only those who have been inoculated with FDA-approved vaccines may attend.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration did not approve AstraZeneca: only those manufactured by Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech, and Johnson and Johnson.

“I think it happened without much thought,” said John Karastamatis, director of communications for Mirvish Productions in Toronto.

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Mirvish, like other live theatre companies, shut down its Toronto productions in March, 2020, when the pandemic was declared.

He told Global News Ontario’s theatre companies are still waiting for direction about when staff will be able to launch productions again.

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“We’re hoping that all these issues will be figured out and there will be universal guidelines,” Karastamatis said in an interview.

Bio-ethics professor Kerry Bowman called the Springsteen announcement the “tip of the iceberg”.

“I think it’s horrible,” said Bowman, who teaches at the University of Toronto.

“This is what vaccine passports do. It divides people for no good reason.”

While approved by Health Canada and other health agencies around the world, the AstraZeneca vaccine is not considered the preferred vaccine in many jurisdictions.

“I’m grateful for this story. It’s triggering a very important debate,” said Bowman.

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Asked about Ontario residents who received the AstraZeneca vaccine, provincial Solicitor General Sylvia Jones said the government would make sure those who received AstraZeneca would “have the same rights” as those who received any other vaccines.

Karastamatis said he believes the Springsteen decision will likely be reviewed and changed.

“We know that 70 per cent of those who go to Broadway shows are visitors,” he said.

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