Pelissero: 69% Of NFL Players Have Started Vaccination Process Weeks Ahead Of Training Camp

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With NFL training camps just weeks away from opening, players are now in a critical window. Those who choose to get vaccinated will have to begin their process soon, if they haven’t already started, in order to enjoy the full benefits of the relaxed COVID-19 protocols for those who have gotten one of the multiple vaccines.

According to Tom Pelissero, roughly 69 percent of players on 90-man rosters have at least begun the vaccination process, if they are not fully vaccinated—a process that takes about 5-6 weeks for two-shot vaccines. That is roughly on par the nationwide average, but well above average for males within the age range of NFL players.

Pelissero also notes that there are five teams who have at least 85 percent of their roster vaccinated, and we already know, according to previous reports, that the Pittsburgh Steelers are among those teams.

Players are not required to be vaccinated in order to play this year, but those who are not vaccinated will be largely working under the same protocols as last season, and they will be heavily isolated from their peers. They will be required to wear masks and social distance, while those who are vaccinated can gather with one another unencumbered.

Importantly, vaccinated players would not be required to enter a five-day quarantine period if they come into high-risk contact with an individual who tests positive for COVID-19. Many players missed games last season because of contact tracing even though they never tested positive themselves, including several players on the Steelers, though a handful of players actually did have it as well, such as Vince Williams and Vance McDonald.

It’s generally recommended that an individual receive the second dose of a two-shot vaccine roughly four weeks after their first shot, and one is considered fully vaccinated two weeks after the second shot.

Training camps open for most teams three weeks from today, so anybody who had not yet begun the process will have to endure three weeks of strict protocols during training camp if they were vaccinated today before they can enjoy the benefits of the relaxed protocols for the vaccinated.

It is also worth noting that unvaccinated players will have to be tested daily, including during their bye week, while those who are vaccinated would only be tested every other week. On the road, unvaccinated players may not leave the team hotel to eat in restaurants, and may not interact with those outside of the traveling party, including friends and family.

Regardless of one’s stance, the two-tiered COVID-19 protocols the NFL has set up make it very clear that it is of immense professional and personal benefit for players to opt for the vaccine. But at the end of the day, it remains a personal decision, and there will certainly be those who choose not to, though I would be curious to see the percentage of players who are likely to make the roster who are vaccinated.

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