The NFL is modifying COVID-19 protocols for all personnel who have been fully vaccinated.
In a memo sent by Commissioner Roger Goodell to the 32 clubs Friday and obtained by The Associated Press, he cited the “advice of our medical and scientific experts” for the agreement to modify protocols to ”reflect the reduced risk of infection and transmission for fully vaccinated individuals.”
“There is no question that being vaccinated is the single most important step that anyone can take to be protected – and to protect others – from the virus,” Goodell noted.
Effective immediately, fully vaccinated individuals in the NFL (players, coaches, staff and executives) are no longer required to be tested each day for the novel coronavirus. Instead, they must be tested weekly on a monitoring basis.
They also are no longer required to submit to lengthy “entry” testing following travel, and are not required to quarantine if identified as a “high risk close contact” with an infected individual.
“The NFL and NFLPA will closely monitor the impact of these changes and will consider additional modifications to the protocols as vaccination levels in club facilities increase,” Goodell wrote. “In the meantime, fully vaccinated individuals and other tiered staff and players must continue to wear masks and (contact warning) devices while in the club facility, and adhere to the other provisions of the protocols.”
Goodell encouraged the teams to continue education initiatives regarding vaccines and to make it easily and conveniently available. So far, 14 clubs have hosted on-site vaccination programs for players, staff and their families, while 11 more have an on-site vaccination clinic scheduled at the team facility or stadium in the next two weeks. Ten clubs have made vaccination appointments available to staff, players and families on a regular basis.
The NFL also is engaging CVS Health to stage individual vaccination clinics at club facilities, and to arrange for players and team personnel in other locations to receive the vaccine.
Goodell added that the league and players’ union, using their medical experts, continue monitoring national vaccination efforts and data demonstrating the effectiveness of the vaccines.
While strongly encouraging getting vaccinated, the NFL has said it will not make taking the COVID-19 vaccine mandatory for players. Earlier this month, the NFL told all employees in the Tier 1 and Tier 2 categories — those who have direct contact with players — that they were expected to get vaccinated, barring medical or religious reasons for not doing so.