Last season was a difficult one for all teams to navigate, given the complications brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. The vaccine has helped slow the spread of the virus, which has allowed things to get closer to normal in the NFL.
However, COVID-19 is still part of the equation and there are ramifications for outbreaks caused by unvaccinated team members. That shouldn’t be much of an issue for the Rams, though.
Sean McVay said on Monday at the start of training camp that the entire coaching staff has been vaccinated and the Rams are close to having 100% of their players vaccinated, as well.
“I’m not going to get into the exact numbers, but we are really close to having 100% of our players having the vaccination,” McVay said. “Some of those guys are in the process of getting that started within the last week. Les, Reggie Scott, Casandra Garcia, they’ve done such a good job of helping give guys the opportunity to understand where we’re coming from, but you do want to be understanding and respectful of everybody has an individual approach that resonates with me and where you want to be empathetic to why they may feel good or why they might have concerns, but our guys have done a good job of trying to educate us on their perspective and we’ve gotten close to 100% of our guys that are committed to doing that, which is good.”
Teams aren’t forcing players to get vaccinated, but being vaccinated makes simple things like travel easier. And if a player does test positive for COVID-19 while being vaccinated, he can return to practice after two negative tests 24 hours apart. If unvaccinated, players will have to quarantine for 10 days, as was the case last year.
McVay understands if a player doesn’t want to get the vaccine, respecting their opinion and view of the situation.
“If certain guys feel adamant that they don’t want to, totally respect and understand that,” he said. “But for me as a coach, you want to be understanding of it. But what it does do is it eliminates some of the things you naturally have to navigate through with the obstacles that are in place whether you are or aren’t. Some of the protocols that we have to follow. Feel like we’re in a really good place and it’s not going to be any reason for it to be a distraction for our team.”
One of the most notable guidelines put in place by the NFL this season is the one that forces a team to forfeit a game if an outbreak is caused by an unvaccinated player and that game can’t be rescheduled within the 18-week season.
No team wants that to happen, of course, which is why having a large number of players vaccinated is so beneficial.