On Monday, the Atlanta Falcons announced they have reached a 100-percent vaccinate rate. According to the team's website, they are the first franchise in the NFL to have everyone on the staff and roster to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
According to Zach Klein of WSB in Atlanta, the team confirmed its 100% status following practice.
Atlanta became one of the more diligent teams on getting player vaccinated prior to the start of the NFL season. In July, the Falcons were already at a 92 percent vaccinated rate prior to the start of the NFL training camp.
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During camp, Atlanta did have five players on the reserve/COVID-19 list, but all have since been cleared and activated.
The organization as a whole has been proactive with vaccinations in the community, offering vaccines at its preseason game last Friday against the Tennessee and during open practice earlier this month.
Dr. Allen Sills, the NFL's medical officer, released a statement on how Atlanta was one of two teams to have a COVID-19 outbreak this preseason. Falcons coach Arthur Smith later commented on the situation.
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"They are very subjective terms, right? So, you guys are out here at practice every day," Falcons coach Arthur Smith told reporters after Sills' comments. "We went through an outbreak last year when I was in Tennessee. Completely different time and there wasn't vaccinations. We were in a completely different environment right now. I'm not going to go into any comments, but it's pretty obvious, you guys come out here every day for work. You would know.
"So I'll leave it at that. I'm not going to get caught in some political what-about game, this or that."
According to league policy, the vaccine is required for all NFL coaches, front-office executives, equipment managers and scouts on staff. However, players are not required to receive the vaccine, per an agreement with the NFL Players Association.
That doesn't mean NFL players are completely safe. They still face stricter protocols during training camp and throughout the season. Those include daily testing, wearing masks around the facilities and travel restrictions.
And the NFL warned last month that teams could forfeit games if they can't field full teams because of a COVID outbreak amongst unvaccinated players.
Per the team's website, Atlanta will no longer have to test daily, won't have to wear masks around the facility and won't have to quarantine following a close contact with someone who tests positive.