As the NFL is reportedly considering relaxed restrictions for teams who reach an 85% threshold of players who receive the COVID-19 vaccine, Buffalo Bills head coach Sean McDermott is doing his best to make sure all of his players have the right information as they hope to reach that mark.
While noting that he’s concerned about getting enough players vaccinated to reach the threshold, enabling his team to conduct business with fewer restrictions, when asked if he’s trying to convince players to get the vaccine, McDermott said “I don’t think the right word is to try and ‘convince.’ I think the right word is to ‘educate,’ and build awareness and let people decide.”
McDermott was speaking to the media via Zoom conference call on Tuesday ahead of the Bills’ organized team activities (OTAs) session. He acknowledged that he and the team have had conversations about the vaccine, but said he will keep those conversations amongst the group. He did disclose that he and general manager Brandon Beane, as well as owners Terry and Kim Pegula, are all fully vaccinated.
“It’s important to us,” McDermott said. “I think it’s for the greater good, not only our team, but for the community, as well. That’s the direction and choice that I’ve personally made, and Brandon and Terry and Kim, as well. So I applaud everyone in our building that’s been able to do that, and improve our situation here.”
McDermott also noted the time it takes to be considered fully vaccinated and how that is starting to get closer to the start of the season.
“The season’s not upon us right now, but it will be at some point, and as we all know how these vaccines go, unless you get the single shot, the other double shots take some time until you’re fully vaccinated," he said. "We always have to keep that in mind, with the length of time it takes to be fully vaccinated if you’re going with the two-shot approach. So that time element comes into play a little bit right now, and I think, a little bit, it’s working against us, or against more players getting it. But it is something we’ve talked about.”
In addition to the incentive of relaxed restrictions, McDermott specifically pointed to tight end Tommy Sweeney’s situation last year as another reason why players should consider getting vaccinated. Sweeney missed the entire season after being diagnosed with myocarditis after having COVID-19.
"If anyone needs a reason or more information about whether or not to get vaccinated or not, or the COVID situation, Tommy missed all of last season and it affected him for some time,” McDermott said, adding that Sweeney has been present at OTAs. “it’s good to have him back and healthy again.”
You can listen to more of McDermott's comments during his conference call below:
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