Saints, Dolphins reportedly reach 85% vaccinated

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By , Audacy Sports

The New Orleans Saints and Miami Dolphins have become the first two NFL teams to reach 85% vaccinated, per Albert Breer of MMQB. This means that 85% of the team is either fully vaccinated, or close to the 14-day threshold needed after the second Pfizer or Moderna shot.

What does this mean? For now, nothing, as Breer notes that the league and player's association have yet to reach a pact on what will happen to teams that reach 85% vaccination. However, he adds that the two sides "have discussed relaxed protocols for teams over that threshold."

In Major League Baseball, teams that reach 85% fully vaccinated no longer have to wear masks in the dugout, and regained freedom to leave their hotel rooms, among other things, when on the road.

By the time the NFL season begins in September the league may decide that enough of the population has the vaccination that they feel comfortable easing or eliminating restrictions, even for teams that aren't at 85%.

They may not, though, especially if medical experts believe that COVID-19 cases could spike again in the winter. That would mean that teams with 85% would be back to some semblance of normalcy, while other franchises would be treated very much like they were during the 2020 season. Just from a mental health standpoint, it would be a seeming advantage for teams not to have restrictions on what they can do away from the field, and how they have to act when they're together throughout the week.

Most importantly, teams that have 85% or more vaccinated are much less likely to have an outbreak. That decreases the chance of key players being lost for games, and any team employees (players, coaches, etc.) suffering even more serious consequences.

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