The Iditarod is in the process of finalizing its Corona Virus mitigation plan. This would require all mushers plus anyone else that is associated with the race to be fully vaccinated.
Iditarod and Big Changes Due to COVID-19
The thousand-mile sled dog race across Alaska has turned to a more regular route from two cities in Alaska in 2022. This occurred during the 50th year. It was after a pandemic-altered, out-and-back course last year. However, there are some big changes that are due to COVID-19.
In fact, the musher’s are not going to be able to stop at a popular checkpoint on the trail. This is aside from the vaccination policy. Moreover, the race’s board of directors does say it made those decisions with feedback from the communities in rural Alaska.
Medical or Religious Exemption
Moreover, there have been some mushers who may have been hoping for a medical or religious exemption from the vaccine mandate heading into the race. Therefore, veteran musher Pete Kaiser, who will start his 13th Iditarod this year, said he was vaccinated really even before last year’s race.
“As far as I’m aware, everybody who did sign up in June was, in fact, aware of the requirement to be vaccinated,” Kaiser said from his home in Bethel, that is where he trains his team.
The 2019 Iditarod champion is Alaska Native, he was born and raised in rural Alaska. Though he did say he thinks the Iditarod made “a good call.”
“Also, I think any precautionary steps which you can take, are good,” Kaiser said. “Therefore, it does seem to be proven. Plus it is also shown the vaccine does help not only from getting the virus but from having symptoms be less deadly.”
However, Wade Marrs does disagree with the new requirement. Therefore, Marrs has, in fact, finished in the top 10 four times since 2015. Plus he has raced every year since 2012.