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Auburn football coach Bryan Harsin was asked on Monday about his COVID-19 vaccination status, considering he had the disease in August and that Auburn on Friday said it will comply with President Joe Biden’s recent executive order requiring COVID-19 vaccination for all state contractor employees nationwide.
Auburn said Friday that all of its employees must be vaccinated by Dec. 8 to comply with the order.
“So, I’m aware of the new policy,” Harsin said on his weekly zoom teleconference. “I appreciate you have to ask the question and understand it. But it doesn’t change. I mean, the executive order, all the same, doesn’t change the fact that I’m not going to discuss any individual’s decision or status on the vaccine or anyone else’s, including my own, like I said before.”
Harsin said at SEC Media Days in July that he would not ask his players or coaches of their vaccination status.
“It’s a deeply personal decision for a lot of people,” he said at the time. “And so, that’s how we approach it. Here’s the info, you make the decision.”
Harsin continued with his answer on Monday.
“From the beginning, I made it clear that wasn’t something that I was going to talk about or discuss,” he said. “Wasn’t going to go down that road and don’t feel like right now that’s any different. We’re focused on Ole Miss. There’s a lot of other things right now that we have to make sure we’re ready for with this football team, and that’s what I’ve got to stay focused on.”
No. 18 Auburn (5-2, 2-1 SEC) hosts No. 10 Ole Miss (6-1, 3-1 SEC) at 6 p.m. Saturday on ESPN after an open week.
“So, we’ve had those conversations (about COVID-19 vaccination), but it doesn’t change what I said before,” Harsin said.
Since Harsin tested positive for COVID-19 on Aug. 19, he cannot receive a vaccine if he so chooses until 90 days after that, according to the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). So, he could receive a shot on Nov. 24 – three days before Auburn hosts Alabama. If Harsin gets the Johnson & Johnson shot on Nov. 24, he will hit his employer’s mandate of Dec. 8 on Dec. 8.
Meanwhile, Mississippi’s higher education board mandated COVID-19 vaccination requirements for all employees at public universities on Monday, and Mississippi State coach Mike Leach followed Harsin’s lead.
“I don’t comment,” he said when asked of his vaccination status. “The whole COVID vaccine thing bounces all over the place. That’d be like commenting on each hit in a tennis match, you know? So, I don’t have any comments.”
Leach, like Harsin, had said previously he was not going to reveal his vaccination status.
“If I was or I wasn’t, I wouldn’t share it with you,” he said at SEC Media Days in July in Hoover, Alabama. “We leave that to the doctors and anybody’s doctor or care provider.”
Washington State football coach Nick Rolovich and four assistants were fired on Oct. 18 after they refused to be vaccinated against COVID-19 after a state mandate requiring vaccination for state employees.
Rolovich plans to sue the university for illegal termination, claiming “discriminatory and vindictive behavior” by Washington State athletic director Pat Chun.