Though it certainly hopes that the entire league does so, as it would make the season go along much smoother this fall, the NFL said Thursday that it has “no intention” of requiring players to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.
Dr. Allen Sills, the league’s chief medical officer, said on the NFL Network that the league's focus is on making sure players know why doing so is beneficial.
"What we are focusing on is education," Sills said. "We want everyone to have the facts and we believe that this is an important step forward. ... We hope that everyone gets vaccinated. That would be our hope.”
About 26% of Americans have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine as of Thursday afternoon, according to The New York Times, and about 14% are fully vaccinated. The country is administering about 2.5 million doses each day on average.
More states have either opened up vaccines to all adults or have announced plans to do so in the coming weeks. California, for example, announced Thursday that all adults will be eligible to receive the vaccine starting April 15.
Vaccinated players will have less restrictions
While the vaccine isn’t required, Sills said that "you'll see vaccinated individuals be able to have certain privileges and certain precautions that are lifted that won't apply to unvaccinated individuals."
The NFL reportedly told teams this week that if they have only fully vaccinated individuals in their draft rooms that they will face fewer restrictions during the draft, for example.
The relaxing of rules and protocols is similar to what the NBA announced earlier this month. The league said that teams who are 85% vaccinated and fully vaccinated individuals no longer have to quarantine after exposure, can have people visit them without having them get tested or register, can dine at restaurants and more.
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