Per John Keim of ESPN, Washington Football Team coach Ron Rivera told reporters Tuesday that more than 50% of Washington's players have been vaccinated against COVID-19. To compare, NFL Network's Tom Pelissero (h/t Nick Shook) reported earlier in the day that 85% of players league-wide have received at least one vaccine shot.
Rivera battled squamous cell carcinoma, a form of skin cancer, last year and is considered immunodeficient and at high risk for COVID-19. He admitted his club's low vaccination rate has him "beyond frustrated" this summer.
"When I'm in a group and the group's not vaccinated or there's a mixture, I put the mask on, and I do that for health reasons because nobody really knows," Rivera explained when speaking about the more-contagious Delta variant. "I have to do that. And I just wish and I hope that our guys can understand that."
Even before the NFL threatened it could force a team to forfeit if it cannot play a scheduled game this season because of a COVID-19 outbreak among unvaccinated players, Washington had a Harvard immunologist and virus expert speak with its players about the available and safe vaccines. Rivera noted Tuesday there's still "reluctance" among multiple players to get the shots and revealed he realizes coronavirus-related absences could sink his team's chances of repeating as NFC East champions.
"But the thing that still looms over our head, unfortunately, is the whole COVID situation," he said. "We have to figure that out and we have to understand that. We do -- as a football team, as individuals, we have to understand what's truly at stake in terms of opportunities going forward and we'll see. We'll see how it all unfolds, and to some degree this tells us a little about us."
NFL teams that reach an 85% vaccination threshold among players can have some health and safety protocols loosened, and Pelissero reports that 14 teams have crossed a 90% vaccination mark.
According to Chase Goodbread of the NFL's website, Rivera added the entire Washington coaching staff is fully vaccinated.