NFL Mandates COVID-19 Boosters for Most Staff, Coaches

Lorenz Duchamps
By Lorenz Duchamps
December 14, 2021Sports News
NFL Mandates COVID-19 Boosters for Most Staff, Coaches
The NFL logo is seen on a football packaging in Los Angeles on Aug. 24, 2020. (Chris Delmas/AFP via Getty Images)

The National Football League (NFL) announced in a memo sent to teams on Tuesday that Tier 1 and Tier 2 individuals will be required to get a COVID-19 booster shot by late December.

The new regulation comes as 25 players on the active roster and 11 on practice squads were placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list after testing positive for the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, which causes the disease COVID-19, the NFL said in a statement.

It is the highest reported number of CCP virus cases since the creation of this COVID-19 list in the 2020 season, according to the statement, which cited NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero.

“Following the rash of positive tests, the NFL is mandating that all Tier 1 and 2 personnel ‘who have previously been vaccinated and are eligible under [CDC] guidelines,’ must receive a booster shot by Dec. 27,” as announced in a memo obtained by NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo.

Tier 1 individuals in the league consist of players, coaches, physicians, trainers, and other personnel who need to be in direct contact with players. Although players are also included in the Tier 1 designation, the mandate doesn’t apply to them because discussions with the NFL Players Association are ongoing.

Tier 2 is comprised of general managers, football operations employees, other assistant coaches, security, among other necessary personnel who may need to be in close contact with the players, or other individuals in the Tier 1 category.

The NFL said, “given the increased prevalence of the virus in our communities, our experts have recommended that we implement the CDC’s recommendation.”

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends an individual who received a second Pfizer or Moderna shot more than six months ago receive a booster shot. It also recommends a person who received the single-dose Johnson & Johnson shot more than two months ago receive a booster shot.

The following do not have to meet the requirement:

  • An individual who is not eligible for a booster pursuant to the CDC definition.
  • An individual who is in the 90-day test holiday after a confirmed positive COVID-19 test under the league protocols.
  •  An individual who received monoclonal antibodies within the immediately preceding 90 days.
  • An individual whose “S” antibody level on an antibody test administered via BRL (BioReference Lab) at the club facility is 2,500 or greater.

The league says anyone who is not currently subject to the requirement for boosters will be required to obtain the booster within 14 days of becoming eligible.

Teams were asked to provide booster shots to all eligible tiered staff as soon as possible and to consider making booster shots available for player and staff families and cohabitants.

In mid-November, the NFL announced in a statement that more than 94 percent of players and nearly 100 percent of personnel are double jabbed.

Last month, the league required players and staff to wear masks inside team facilities regardless of vaccination status for a week and ordered they be tested twice for the CCP virus after the Thanksgiving holiday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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