Buffalo Bills general manager Brandon Beane does not think the NFL will mandate the COVID-19 vaccine for players prior to the 2021 season.
That aligns with the memo NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero shared a week ago, directing teams to mandate it for team employees who come into contact with players but not specifically the players themselves.
“[All clubs are expected to] schedule and participate in vaccine information sessions for players, families and staff.... The overwhelming consensus among medical and public health experts is that the most effective way for someone to avoid the risk of contracting Covid-19 — and the risk of infecting others — is to be vaccinated. Our medical team has worked closely with the NFLPA medical advisors to develop comprehensive educational material that reinforces this conclusion and addresses the safety and effectiveness of available vaccines.”
The memo does mention that COVID-related protocols will be loosened for individual players when they are vaccinated and teams when they reach a certain level of vaccinations.
It should be noted that the vaccines are only in use under an emergency authorization, and have not been fully approved by the FDA.
Earlier this month, Erie County executive Mark Poloncarz said he thinks Highmark Stadium will be at 100% capacity this fall, but only if everyone is vaccinated. New York State governor Andrew Cuomo disagreed with Poloncarz, saying he didn’t think that was legal. Either way, it’s multiple months away at an outdoor stadium and things have been changing frequently.