The NFL has no intention of mandating COVID-19 vaccinations for players, coaches or team staff members, the league’s chief medical officer said.
Dr. Allen Sills said he hopes everyone will get vaccinated and that vaccinated individuals will have certain privileges and precautions that won’t apply to unvaccinated individuals. Such privileges and precautions include full participation in team rooms during the annual player draft next month, ESPN reports.
However, Sills insisted on the NFL Network on Thursday that the vaccination will not be a prerequisite for participation in the 2021 season.
“What we are focusing on is education. 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.”Dr. Allen Stills, NFL Chief Medical Officer
The memo states that draft rooms with any non-vaccinated personnel present will be subject to a maximum limit of 20 individuals and must comply with the protocols — this requires physical distancing and mask-wearing, and prohibits eating and drinking.
The memo also allows for a maximum of 10 fully vaccinated individuals in the draft room.
If all individuals are fully vaccinated, the NFL’s website states masks will not be required, physical distancing measures will be relaxed, and eating and drinking will be allowed.
ESPN reports the NFLPA is continuing to advocate for an entirely virtual offseason, similar to what the league administered in 2020, and will demand daily testing if there are any in-person workouts.
Owners believe daily testing will not be necessary this summer in training camp once most players are vaccinated, ESPN reports.
The CDC reports that about 133.3 million total vaccine doses have been administered, with 14.3% of the total American population fully vaccinated.