The NFL informed teams on Tuesday that team employees, other than players, should be expected to be vaccinated for COVID-19 unless they have a "bona fide medical or religious ground for not doing so."
According to a memo, obtained and released by NFL Network's Tom Pelissero, the league says "any staffer that refuses to be vaccinated without either a religious or medical reason will not be eligible for Tier 1 or 2 status and therefore will not be permitted access to the 'football only' restricted area and may not work directly or in close proximity with players."
The league also plans on relaxing various aspects of its protocols for vaccinated individuals.
Throughout the offseason the league and the NFL Players Association have consistently expressed support for vaccination efforts. However, in late March, the league and NFLPA said they had no plans at this point to make coronavirus vaccines mandatory for players, coaches or staff members.
“The NFL and the NFL Players Association have no intention of making the COVID-19 vaccine mandatory for players, coaches or staff,” Dr. Allen Sills, the league’s chief medical officer, said in his televised interview with NFL Network in late March. “What we are focusing on is education. We want everyone to have the facts and we believe that this is an important step forward.”
In February, commissioner Roger Goodell wrote to President Biden offering the use of all 30 NFL stadiums as vaccination sites.
The memo released Tuesday reiterates that teams are also "expected" to "use your training facility as a vaccination site for club staff, players and eligible family members."
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