NFL Vaccine Mandate
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The NFL and its players’ union are currently in a heated battle over a vaccine mandate for the league after the chief medical officer revealed yesterday that 93% of players have been vaccinated against COVID-19. 

NFL Wants Vaccine Mandate

Fox News reported that while the NFL officially said it wanted a vaccine mandate, the NFLPA refused to agree to it.

The NFL then asked the union to adjust its protocols so that vaccinated players will need to be tested weekly instead of every 14 days.

Meanwhile, unvaccinated players are tested every single day.

“We’ve been discussing mandatory vaccination from the start,” said NFL deputy general counsel Larry Ferazani. “In fact, we took the lead and required staff and coaches to be vaccinated in order to have access to a player.”

“Beginning at that point, we began banging the drum for what (the NFLPA’s) experts also concede is the single greatest way that we can protect the players and the staff, which is to get to a 100 percent vaccination level,” he added. “That was our request from that, and we would still love to see that mandate go into effect tomorrow.” 

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NFLPA Fires Back 

NFLPA spokesman George Atallah told The Washington Post that the union was never going to agree to a vaccine mandate. 

“The union and player leadership did not believe mandating vaccines for players was the best approach, as JC [Tretter] has pointed out repeatedly,” Atallah said. “We know vaccines are effective but we also know our strict protocols — when followed — are effective, as we proved last year.”

Dr. Allen Sills, the NFL’s chief medical officer, expressed his hopes that the other 7% of players would get vaccinated.

While Sills said that he vast majority of positive cases among vaccinated players were cases of the Delta variant and none of these individuals had to be hospitalized, he also added that “testing isn’t prevention.”

“It’s one part of our mitigation strategy but it’s not the key part,” he said. “It’s not testing alone that will get us through this surge.”

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Expert Meets With Minnesota Vikings 

The Minnesota Vikings have one of the lowest vaccination rates in the entire league. Epidemiologist Michael Osterholm met with the team earlier this week to encourage them to get vaccinated. 

“What I shared with them was really just addressing this disinformation that’s out there,” he said afterwards. “A rumor that 6,700 people had died from taking the vaccine. Absolutely not true. A rumor that the vaccine makes you sterile. Absolutely not true. And so it’s amazing once a disinformation piece of information becomes talked about, it becomes fact.”

It remains to be seen whether or not the NFL will be successful in forcing all players to get vaccinated.

For now, the players union is continuing to fight back for the individual freedoms of these athletes. 

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