Back on Aug. 3, it was learned that 27 teams had reached the 85% COVID-19 vaccination threshold among players that allows for the loosening of certain restrictions and protocols related to the virus.
On Thursday, Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio updated that five clubs were still below an 88% vaccination rate as of Wednesday morning. One team had reached only 74% heading into the first full weekend of preseason games.
Seven clubs had hit or exceeded 97%, and one team had 99% of its players vaccinated. It was previously reported the Minnesota Vikings, Washington Football Team, Indianapolis Colts and Arizona Cardinals were among franchises with the league’s lowest vaccination rates.
The NFL and NFL Players Association have said players cannot be cut only for remaining unvaccinated through the rest of the preseason, but the league has informed clubs that they could be made to forfeit regular-season matchups if they cannot safely field a squad in any week because of a COVID-19 outbreak among unvaccinated personnel. Additionally, the NFL is threatening to withhold game checks for contests not played due to the coronavirus, and unvaccinated players can be fined $14,650 whenever they break COVID-19 protocols.
Florio notes that vaccination rates will likely change once rosters are trimmed down, and it will be interesting to see which so-called “bubble players” claim they were cut mostly because they wouldn’t receive one of the safe and available shots. Fair or not, the perception exists that free agents have a better chance of getting at least a tryout with teams if they’re vaccinated: