The NFL has “no intention” to require COVID-19 vaccinations for players, coaches or team staff members, according to the league’s chief medical officer.
Speaking Thursday on the NFL Network, Dr. Allen Sills said he hopes “everyone” will get vaccinated and added that “you’ll see vaccinated individuals be able to have certain privileges, and certain precautions that are lifted that won’t apply to unvaccinated individuals.” But it does not appear that vaccination will be a prerequisite for participation in the 2021 season.
“What we are focusing on is education,” Sills said. “We want everyone to have the facts.”
Sills compared those privileges and precautions to plans for team facilities during the annual player draft next month. The league informed teams this week that those who are having only fully vaccinated people in their draft rooms will face fewer restrictions than those who include some who have not been vaccinated.
Revisions to the league’s COVID-19 protocols are one of the most high-profile stories of the offseason.
On Wednesday, ESPN NFL insider Chris Mortensen reported that the NFL and NFLPA are negotiating the extent of in-person offseason workouts. The NFLPA is continuing to advocate for an entirely virtual offseason, similar to what the league administered in 2020, but will demand daily testing if there are any workout in person.
Owners believe daily testing will not be necessary this summer in training camp, at which point most players will have had an opportunity to be vaccinated.