NFL vaccination rates high, despite Aaron Rodgers controversy

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Photo courtesy of Creative Commons/elviskennedy

Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers looks to pass.

Lindsay Giovannone, Sports Editor

On Nov. 5, Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who had tested positive for COVID-19 a week prior, confirmed in an interview on the Pat McAffee show that he has not been vaccinated against the coronavirus.

Rodgers initially told the press that he had been “immunized” against the virus and was not pressed further. He has since acknowledged that he lied.

Instead of the vaccine, he has been taking the drug Ivermectin, an anti-parasitic tablet that is FDA-approved for use in livestock and humans. The FDA has stated that Ivermectin is ineffective against COVID-19 and can be dangerous when taken without medical oversight.

The NFL does not have a vaccination mandate for players but affirms that if a game is cancelled due to a team-wide COVID-19 outbreak, they will be credited with a loss and no players from either team will be paid. The NFL fined the Green Bay Packers and Aaron Rodgers $300,000 and $14,650, respectively, for violating league-wide COVID-19 guidelines.

Despite Rodgers being the center of the media’s attention, a majority of the NFL is fully vaccinated. Before the season began, 17 out of 32 teams had a 95% vaccination rate; this number has since grown to 30 out of 32 teams, with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Atlanta Falcons achieving 100% player vaccination rates. The NFL’s last release of COVID-19 data on Oct. 16 shows that 17,114 tests have been conducted; 6504 of these tests were for players and personnel. The league’s positive transmission rate during that period was 0.6%.

Many players have been outspoken about their choice to get vaccinated.

Seattle Seahawks QB Russell Wilson hosted a vaccination event with his wife Ciara called “Roll Up Your Sleeves.” Emmanuel Sanders, wide receiver on the Buffalo Bills, tweeted a photo of his vaccination card, with the caption “Accountability. Availability. Don’t have time to deal with no bs during the season. #Chasinggreatness.”

New England Patriots long snapper Joe Canada said, “To have an organization as a whole and a locker room that prioritizes science over misinformation or whatever else is out there and presents the facts to us players in a concise manner and addresses concerns regarding vaccination, regarding whatever concerns a player has, has been really great to be a part of.”

The NFL remains optimistic that their vaccination rates will only continue to climb, and the season will continue safely.