The San Francisco 49ers are less than two weeks away from training camp as they prepare for the 2021 NFL season. Unfortunately, we don’t know if the Niners meet with the NFL’s threshold of having 85 percent of their players vaccinated to loosen COVID-19 restrictions.
Head coach Kyle Shanahan touched on the topic during OTAs in June.
“I think we got 52 guys who have our vaccines done,” Shanahan told reporters during OTAs. “Our goal, I think, is to get — we need 85-percent, which I don’t have a calculator on me, but I think it’s 77 or something of the 90 that we have. So I’m hopeful we’ll get there. I think we will.”
ESPN’s Kevin Seifert says the Pittsburgh Steelers, Miami Dolphins, Carolina Panthers and Denver Broncos have the highest vaccination rates among players. The Associated Press reports 13 teams have met the 85 percent requirement but that the Washington Football Team and Indianapolis Colts have less than 50 percent of their players vaccinated as of Friday.
Teams with less than 85 percent of their players getting their shots will face some restrictions during team activities.
Unvaccinated players must continue to get daily testing, wear masks and practice physical distancing. They won’t be allowed to eat meals with teammates, can’t participate in media or marketing activities while traveling, aren’t permitted to use the sauna or steam room, and may not leave the team hotel or interact with people outside the team while traveling. Vaccinated players will not have any of those restrictions.
States around the country are using different approaches when it comes to dealing with the virus. For example, Florida and Texas have lifted all mandates when it comes to COVID-19 protocols, while many counties in California recently implemented mask rules in indoor spaces.
The NFL plans to have stadiums operating at full capacity next season, a welcome change after a minimal number of fans were allowed to watch games in person during the 2020 campaign.
California reported more than 23,000 cases last week, roughly a 90 percent increase from the week before. The Delta variant is being blamed for the jump in positive cases. Hospitalizations have ticked upwards as well, but the death rate has only marginally increased.
In Santa Clara County — where the 49ers’ team facility is located — the seven-day rolling average is 76 new cases per day.
We should get more clarity on the situation in the coming weeks when it comes to which NFL teams won’t have to deal with heightened restrictions as they gear up for the season.
The NFL Network previously reported that virtually all Tier 1 and 2 personnel — coaches and administrative staff — had previously been vaccinated.