The number of NFL players who have received the coronavirus vaccine has hit 80 percent as teams start reporting to training camp.
“I think we are off to an excellent start,” NFL Medical Director Allen Sills said on Friday, The Associated Press reported.
Almost all team employees that deal directly with players are vaccinated, and nine teams have more than 90 percent of their players vaccinated.
Only five teams have less than 70 percent of players vaccinated.
“Those numbers are much higher than what we’re seeing in society as a whole," Sills said. "There has been a lot of movement in that area. As you see players coming to training camp, you will see more players beginning that process [of vaccination]."
Teams have had medical experts come in to explain the benefits of the vaccine and answer questions.
“What matters is that individuals have the most accurate information. Let’s not get information from Instagram or Facebook posts. Let’s try to hear from the most reputable professionals," Sills said. "You don’t shout anyone into belief here — there have to be thoughtful conversations. What we can do is provide the facts and make sure the entirety of the medical facts are presented.
“I think that has influenced a lot of players,” he added.
The NFL told teams on Thursday that they may have to forfeit games if there are COVID-19 outbreaks among unvaccinated individuals.
“If a game cannot be rescheduled within the current 18-week schedule and is cancelled due to a Covid outbreak among non-vaccinated players on one of the competing teams, the club with the outbreak will forfeit the contest and will be deemed to have played 16 games for purposes of draft, waiver priority, etc.,” said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.