NFL stops daily COVID-19 testing for unvaccinated players
The NFL and the NFL Players Association have agreed to cease daily COVID-19 testing for unvaccinated players, allowing them to follow protocols that were issued for vaccinated players and coaches in December.
The league sent a note to the remaining eight teams in the NFL playoffs on Friday, eliminating the designation between unvaccinated and vaccinated players.
The league change comes after the number of instances of the omicron variant. All players and multi-tier staff will undergo enhanced symptom screening, symptom-based testing and targeted surveillance testing.
According to the most recent NFL COVID-19 data from January 13, 95% of players and nearly 100% of staff are vaccinated. Of all unvaccinated players remaining on playoff squads, only about a dozen haven’t already had COVID-19 according to Pelisseroso the latest change will only affect a small number of people.
One of the remaining 12 unvaccinated players is Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers. His 90-day testing waiver following a positive case was soon to expire. According to Pelissero, players on a 90-day testing “holiday” after having had COVID-19 are still tested if they show symptoms, regardless of their vaccination status.
While there has been a decrease in positive tests to near zero league-wide, it’s still possible for players to miss a playoff game if they get sick.
NFL and NFLPA medical experts have seen omicron cases decline, noting targeted testing is working after the league saw a spike in omicron-based cases in mid-December.
The divisional round of the NFL playoffs begins Saturday when the Titans host the Cincinnati Bengals at 4:30 p.m. ET.
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