The Atlanta Falcons are fully vaccinated, the team told ESPN on Monday, and are believed to be the first NFL team to reach this milestone.
Atlanta has been proactive with vaccinations in the community as well, offering vaccines at its preseason game last Friday and the team’s practice inside Mercedes-Benz Stadium earlier this month.
The Falcons did have five players on the reserve/COVID-19 list at the start of training camp, but all have since been removed from the list.
Dr. Allen Sills, the NFL’s medical officer, had said in a recent briefing Atlanta was one of two teams to have a COVID-19 outbreak this preseason.
“They are very subjective terms, right? So, you guys are out here at practice every day,” Falcons coach Arthur Smith said after Sills’ comments. “We went through an outbreak last year when I was in Tennessee. Completely different time and there wasn’t vaccinations. We were in a completely different environment right now. I’m not going to go into any comments, but it’s pretty obvious, you guys come out here every day for work. You would know.
“So I’ll leave it at that. I’m not going to get caught in some political what-about game, this or that.”
The vaccine is required for all NFL coaches, front-office executives, equipment managers and scouts. Players are not required to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, per an agreement with the NFL Players Association, but face stricter protocols during training camp and throughout the season — such as daily testing, mask wearing and travel restrictions — that vaccinated players are able to forgo.
Now there are no questions around Atlanta. The Falcons are fully vaccinated.