NFL Teams To Find Ways To Identify Vaccinated Members, Panthers Among Those With Highest Vax Rates

Just ahead of training camp, about 73% of NFL players are vaccinated and only two NFL teams have less than 50% of their members vaccinated.

The Associated Press reports Pittsburgh, Miami, Carolina and Denver have the highest vaccination rates and are among 10 teams that have achieved at least 85% vaccination rates, while as of Friday, Washington and Indianapolis had the two lowest COVID-19 vaccination rates among the 32 teams in the league.

About 73% of players have been vaccinated, according to the person who spoke to the AP about the statistics on the condition of anonymity because the league hasn’t released the numbers, per WXII 12 News. Earlier this month, the league said just under 70% of NFL players have now received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Players aren't required to get vaccinated — but while players are exempt, Tier 1 and Tier 2 staffers are still required to get vaccinated, and WXII 12 News reports that teams on the lower end of the vaccination table face potential competitive disadvantages. OutKick previously reported that coaches and other staff who aren’t fully vaccinated won’t be eligible for Tier 1 or 2 status and will not be allowed to work directly with players.

The NFL doesn’t plan to cancel any games this season, the person said to the AP.

In a memo sent to clubs last week and obtained by the AP, the NFL and the NFLPA updated protocols to allow teams traveling to joint practices to have their daily maximum of Tier 1 and Tier 2 individuals.

The traveling party will be either 100 or 140, depending on the club’s vaccination percentage and the club is limited to the number of individuals traveling on the team transportation to 85, but the AP reports the team can travel additional Tier 1 and Tier 2 staff up to the applicable daily Tier limits separately to attend the practice.

The AP reports that at the beginning of training camp, teams will be required to develop a method to visually identify fully vaccinated Tier 1 and Tier 2 individuals — like using color-coded wristbands or credentials are recommended but clubs are free to implement other methods.

The NFL and NFLPA updated protocols to loosen restrictions for fully vaccinated players and to encourage others to get the vaccine. Unvaccinated players must continue to get daily testing, wear masks and practice physical distancing — they will not be allowed to eat with teammates, will not be allowed to participate in media or marketing activities while traveling, will not be permitted to use the sauna or steam room and may not leave the team hotel or interact with people outside the team while traveling, the outlet reports. Vaccinated players will not have any of those restrictions.

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