A report from Dianna Russini of ESPN says the NFL is ready to take the next step in their COVID-19 vaccination protocol. According to Russini, the NFL is sending out a memo on Tuesday mandating the COVID-19 booster shot for Tier 1 & Tier 2 personnel.
Update: It's official. The memo has been sent to teams.
Here are the affected parties, per the NFL’s initial Tier memo (strikethrough is mine):
• Tier 1 will consist of
players, coaches, trainers, physicians and necessary personnel who must have direct access to the players.
• Tier 2 will consist of general managers, football operations employees, other assistant coaches, video personnel, security and other essential personnel who may need to be in close proximity to the players and other Tier 1 individuals who may need to access restricted areas.
That doesn’t mandate any changes for players, as that needs to be collectively bargained.
The news is on the heels of an uptick in cases around the NFL following the Thanksgiving holiday. In response to the extra interaction between families and the players and personnel, the league stepped up testing of unvaccinated players following the holiday. It’s caught several breakthrough cases.
On Monday alone, there were 37 positives in the NFL, per Adam Schefter, the highest number since the COVID-19 pandemic began.
The only player on the Buffalo Bills’ Reserve/COVID-19 list this past game was linebacker A.J. Klein, who is believed to be unvaccinated. He was placed on the list seven days ago prior to the game against the New England Patriots, which means he’ll be eligible to return this week if he’s asymptomatic. Linebacker Tyrel Dodson was added to the list on Monday.
Multiple long-accepted vaccinations require a three-dose (or more) sequence including Diphtheria, Tetanus, Pertussis, Polio, and Hepatitis B. The COVID-19 booster shot is just the latest to be added to the list. The booster shot is a lower dose than the initial vaccine injection and is approved by the Food and Drug Administration.