Nearly 94% of NFL Players Have Received COVID-19 Vaccine

Eitan Greenberg, Copy Editor

As of Sept. 14, 2021, nearly 94% of active players in the National Football League have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

In 2020, the league played a regular season despite a lack of vaccinations and fans in the stadiums. Over the offseason, the NFL created new COVID-19 protocols and guidelines. For months, the NFL has strongly encouraged its players to receive their vaccinations in order to lower the risk of a COVID-19 outbreak amongst players. When training camp began earlier this month, the NFL’s vaccination rates reached just over 90%. Since then, that number has risen to 93.5%. 

The NFL has also incentivized players to get vaccinated. CBS reports that the rate of vaccination among players is so high in part because of the NFL’s COVID protocols. Official protocol states that the vaccinated must undergo weekly testing, whereas non-vaccinated players need to be tested daily. Additionally, a new NFL rule established that if a team cannot play a game due to a COVID-19 outbreak among unvaccinated players, that team must forfeit the game, which counts as a loss.

While most players have complied with the NFL’s COVID-19 protocols, mask mandate and vaccine recommendation, some players have not. For instance, former New England Patriots quarterback Cam Newton was reportedly fined and suspended multiple times for not submitting to the COVID-19 protocols. The Patriots released Newton, who is not vaccinated, a week before the season started. Buffalo Bills wide receiver Isaiah McKenzie received a $14,000 fine in late August for repeatedly not wearing a mask. Generally speaking, however, NFL players have complied with COVID-19 safety precautions.  

As the season progresses, NFL officials believe that the vaccination rate may grow even higher among players.