No, NFL players are not required to get vaccinated. However, the league strongly recommends it and is working with the Players Association to encourage players to get vaccinated.
In December 2020, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use in people 16 years of age and older. The FDA also authorized the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use in people 18 years of age and older.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) voted to recommend that health care workers and long-term care facility residents should be first in line to receive the vaccine, followed by people 75 years of age and older, frontline essential workers such as police officers and grocery store workers, and people aged 65-74 years.
The NFL has not mandated that players must be vaccinated, but they have “strongly encouraged” players to get vaccinated. In a memo sent to NFL teams, the league said that it would provide players with information about the vaccines “as it becomes available.”
The NFL is also working with the Players Association to develop a plan for how to best protect players and staff from COVID-19. The league has said that it will continue to consult with medical experts on how to keep players safe during the season.
What the NFL Says
The NFL has come out and said that players are not required to get vaccinated for the upcoming season. However, they are strongly encourage to do so. The NFL has also said that if a player does choose to get vaccinated, they will not be required to wear a mask on the sidelines.
The NFL’s Official Statement
The NFL issued a statement on Wednesday saying that it “strongly advises” players to get vaccinated for the flu, but stopped short of making the shots mandatory.
“The NFL strongly advises all players to get vaccinated for the flu each year,” said a statement from the league. “The best time to get a flu shot is October through mid-November, although getting vaccinated later can still be helpful. Vaccination is especially important for people at high risk for serious complications from influenza.”
However, the NFL stopped short of requiring players to get the shots, as some other professional sports leagues have done.
“Players are not mandated to receive the flu vaccine, but we strongly encourage them to do so,” the statement said. “We will continue to work with our team physicians and trainers on the best ways to keep our players healthy during the season and will provide additional information as it becomes available.”
What Players are Saying
Many NFL players are hesitant to get the vaccine because of the side effects. Some say that they don’t want to risk the potential side effects, while others believe that the vaccine isn’t effective. A few players have even said that they believe the vaccine is a “scheme” to control players.
What the Science Says
The science is clear: Vaccines are effective at preventing disease. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that people get vaccinated to protect themselves from serious diseases like measles, mumps, and rubella. The NFL has a long history of working with the CDC to promote the importance of vaccines, and all NFL players are required to get vaccinated.
The Efficacy of the Vaccine
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) has stated that the vaccine is effective in preventing NFL players from becoming ill with COVID-19. The CDC also recommends that all NFL players get vaccinated. However, the vaccine is not mandatory for NFL players.
The Risks of Not Getting Vaccinated
There are many risks associated with not getting vaccinated, both for the individual and for the community. Vaccine-preventable illnesses are more likely to cause severe illness, hospitalization, or death in people with weakened immune systems, such as cancer patients and those receiving radiation therapy or long-term corticosteroid treatment. Infections can also be more severe in pregnant women and their newborns.
Community immunity, or herd immunity, protects people who cannot get vaccinated because of health reasons. When enough people in a community are vaccinated against a disease, it becomes difficult for an outbreak of that disease to start because there aren’t enough susceptible people for the disease to spread. If too many people opt out of vaccines, it puts the entire community at risk.
In conclusion, NFL players are not required to get vaccinated against the flu, but it is highly recommended. The best way to protect yourself and your team is to get vaccinated and practice good hygiene habits.