Saints among NFL leaders in player vaccination rates

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There will be competitive advantages for NFL teams that vaccinate a majority of their rosters against COVID-19 this season, and the New Orleans Saints are on the forefront of achieving that. The MMQB’s Albert Breer reported last week that the Saints and Miami Dolphins were the first two teams to cross the 85% threshold for player vaccination, outpacing many of their peers.

And their aggressive approach to the vaccine extends beyond the locker room; Sean Payton said earlier this month that all of New Orleans’ personnel within Tiers 1 and 2 (those who work either directly with or in close proximity to the players, like coaches and equipment staff) had reached 100% vaccination status.

But how does it help the Saints to get out in front of this? It puts them on track for a relatively normal training camp: players can work out in the weight room, study tape together in the film room, and share tables in the cafeteria. For all intents and purposes, it’s back to business as usual for them. While other teams around the league will still be working under the NFL’s COVID-19 restrictions and managing unvaccinated players, the Saints will be clicking right along and bypassing those hurdles.

And as far as qualify of life privileges go, they won’t be tested daily, won’t have to wear masks around the practice facility, and won’t have to practice physical distancing from their teammates. They can accept sponsorships and spend time with vaccinated friends and family away from the team. There are plenty of incentives beyond the competitive advantage.

It’s great to see the Saints aggressively pursuing those vaccination goals after their negligence last season brought multiple fines down on Payton and the organization, to say nothing of Alvin Kamara’s late-season absence and the loss of a future draft pick. New Orleans is back on track following those missteps, and it’s a good sign for what’s ahead of them in 2021.

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