The NFL expects key members of each team’s football operation to receive a COVID-19 vaccine unless they have a “good” medical or religious reason not to. This emerges from a memo that was issued to all clubs on Tuesday.
Dr. Allen Sills, the NFL’s chief medical officer, said last month that no NFL employee, including players, needs to be vaccinated as a condition of employment, and it continues to do so. However, Tuesday’s edict describes the ramifications for those Tier 1 and Tier 2 employees who choose not to. These groups do not include players, but rather coaches, front office executives, medical staff, video specialists, and others who traditionally work closely with players.
The memo states: “Any employee who refuses to be vaccinated for no religious or medical reason will not be eligible for Level 1 or 2 status and will therefore not be granted access to the Football Only Area and may not be able to go directly work.” or in close proximity to players. “Unvaccinated employees are also not entitled to an expected relaxation of certain COVID-19 protocols for vaccinated individuals.
The league’s vaccination agreement with players, along with other pandemic-related offseason protocols, is negotiated separately with the NFL Players Association. In the meantime, teams have been asked to submit weekly reports on staff vaccinations. The NFL and NFLPA are exchanging proposals for a vaccination threshold for individual teams, which, according to Tuesday’s memo, would “provide significant relief to vaccinated individuals with requirements for testing, PPE use, physical distancing, travel and other issues.”