The Miami Dolphins are one of two teams to have reached an all-important COVID-19 vaccination threshold among the team’s players.
Per NFL Network’s Albert Breer, the Dolphins and the New Orleans Saints are the first two teams to have 85% or more of each team’s players receive the COVID-19 vaccine. That number is notable because it’s been speculated by several sports news outlets that, should teams reach that vaccination percentage mark, teams will have many of the 2020 COVID protocols lifted come training camp, the preseason, and the 2021 regular season. Breer notes that nothing has been agreed to yet in that regard, but that the “NFL and NFLPA have discussed relaxed protocols for teams over that threshold.”
Breer also noted that “[Flores] has participated in all the educational calls the league has done to educate coaches and staff. Miami, in turn, has educated its players, while letting them make their own call on the vaccine.” Of course, having more players vaccinated also greatly reduces the chances that players miss game time during the season due to contracting COVID-19, something the Dolphins and every other team in the league became quite familiar with to varying degrees last season.
Earlier this week, the NFL and NFLPA agreed to a set of rules as to how being vaccinated affects restrictions regarding individual players. Among the restrictions that vaccinated players will be free from include daily testing, wearing masks at team facilities and during team travel, remaining physically distant from others at the team facility, quarantining after exposure to COVID-19, and refraining from traveling during the team’s bye week.
Around the league, teams have been bringing medical experts into their facilities to educate players and staff on their options regarding vaccination. Such efforts have received mixed responses from players. Per NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, half of the league’s teams have 51 or more players vaccinated, though, as evidenced by the Dolphins and Saints, progress is being made in raising those numbers as training camp, and subsequently the NFL season, draw closer.
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