The Baltimore Ravens activated quarterback Lamar Jackson off of the Reserve/COVID-19 List on Monday, and it was first day back practicing after missing a mandatory 10 days, which is the requirement for unvaccinated players who test positive. Understandably, his media session after practice was full of questions about his multiple bouts of the virus and whether or not he would decide to get vaccinated in the future.
Jackson caught COVID-19 in October of last year, which forced him to miss a game, and he acknowledged experiencing some symptoms, which carried over to his second stint he’s just come over, particularly fatigue. He talked about sleeping a lot, even when he was trying to be in virtual meetings, and his backyard workouts were minimal. He did not, however, lose his senses of smell and taste as he did last time.
“I mean, I just got off the COVID list”, he said when he was asked if he was concerned about contracting the virus a third time. “I’ve got to talk to my team doctors and try to see how they feel about it. [I’m going to] keep learning as much as I can about it, and we’ll go from there”. When asked if he might decide to get vaccinated, he said, “we’ll see, we’ll see. Talking to the doctors. We’ll see”.
Now heading into his fourth season, Jackson has already been the face of the franchise for about three and a half years, after helping turn around a losing team during his rookie season and taking them to the playoffs. He became the youngest, and the second-ever unanimous, league MVP the following season, with the Ravens posting a franchise-best 14-2 record, and they secured their first playoff victory since 2014 this past season.
He is one of the most popular and recognizable players in the league, and a big influence and role model for young fans. Along that line, he was asked about his concerns with setting an example for young followers in terms of getting vaccinated.
“I want to inspire the kids, and I want to inspire the community, but at the same time, things are going to come at you, [and] people are going to feel however they want to feel about certain situations, and you’ve just got to go however you want to go about it”, he said. “So, we’re going to see”.
Should Jackson choose to get vaccinated, he would only need to receive one shot of a two-shot vaccine (and wait two weeks) for the league to consider him fully vaccinated, due to the fact that he was recently infected.
While I’m not sure if it would make a lot of sense to get only one shot if you’re going to decide to get vaccinated, under these terms, it would greatly shorten the window for Jackson to have to operate under the much more stringent COVID-19 protocols that unvaccinated players have to follow this year. The full two-shot vaccination process takes about six weeks, so cutting that down by a third, especially about a month away from the start of the regular season, would be significant. But it’s ultimately up to him whether or not to get the vaccine.