Less than 24 hours after word went public the NFL could force teams to forfeit and also withhold pay if a game cannot occur this season, as scheduled, because of a COVID-19 outbreak among unvaccinated personnel, there’s positive news about the league’s vaccination efforts.
ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler tweeted Friday morning that 16 NFL teams have hit the 85% COVID-19 vaccination threshold among players needed for the loosening of some health and safety protocols, up from 14 clubs the previous day. Additionally, Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk noted 80% of players league-wide have received at least one vaccine shot.
NFL Media’s Judy Battista reported Thursday over 78% of players had gotten one shot.
Smith adds that nine teams have over 90% of players vaccinated, with only five clubs having less than 70% of players vaccinated ahead of the weekend.
Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield and Minnesota Vikings coach Mike Zimmer are among the many NFL personalities who have pointed out higher vaccine rates within any team offers that club a competitive advantage, while unvaccinated players will have more of a difficult time when training camps open because they’ll have to follow guidelines similar to those used in 2020 when multiple vaccines weren’t available to all league employees.
The NFL and NFL Players Association aren’t mandating players be vaccinated to participate in the upcoming season, but the memo released Thursday left no doubt those who don’t get the shots are putting more than just their own health at risk.